Two actors in The Fanstaicks

How Theatre Saved My Life

dramamommaspeaks.com

This is how theatre saved my life.

My imagination (and later, theatre specifically) saved my life. When I was a child, my mother was quite ill and consequently to show respect to her, I controlled my emotions. so I didn’t want compound her stress.

I was the youngest in my family. With ten years between me and my next closest sibling, I rarely had anyone to play with or talk to. I depended upon my imagination to comfort me and take me away from loneliness I felt but wouldn’t admit to anyone. I learned how to slap on a smile and pretend everything was good with me.  I was quite a little actress.

When I saw movies, I would act them out and sing very dramatically while sequestering myself upstairs on the east porch of our house. It had no heat and I remember freezing to death for my “art”.

I was born and raised in Kansas in a small town.  Our only claim to fame is we had two colleges, one university which was a teacher’s college and another one a religious affiliated.  Oh, an an enormous beef packing plant which made our town smell…..unusual. Ugh!

I thought I was crazy, though. I never told my friends about my make believe playing and when I would visit their houses, they never played make believe. So I decided I wasn’t like everyone else. I played make believe until I was twelve.

My father was a physician and my mother was raised in Japan when she was a child. Consequently, her wander lust was difficult to satiate and we traveled to many countries when I was quite young.

If it wasn’t hard enough being the youngest, my world view was very different from my fellow classmates. Just another thing to make me an oddity, at least in my mind.

My mother wasn’t at all supportive of my interest in theatre. She intimated I could end up like Elizabeth Taylor, “She’s been married seven times. Look at her…”Something was mentioned about me ending up on a “casting couch.” I didn’t know what that was, but by my mother’s attitude I knew it must be bad.

Trying to be the good daughter,  I left behind my imagination and became a cheerleader in junior high school. It makes sense if you think about it. That worked for two years and I loved the performing aspect of it.  I was a rotten jumper.  No one taught me how to do a round off or cartwheel, so I taught myself.  But I could yell loudly and lead the crowd in cheers.  At least I could do that!

When I was in high school, I found exactly what I was seeking –the stage! I was cast in my first play as Madame Arcati in “Blithe Spirit”.  Since I had no previous acting experience, but lots experience playing the piano, I notated my script as if I was playing the piano. I used fermatas for pauses and crescendo and decrescendo signs when I wanted to speak louder or softer.

To this day, I grow nostalgic whenever I step backstage. The scent of sawdust, newly painted flats and the warmth of the stage lights are a magical elixir to me. I brush the back of my hand across a velvet grand curtain and immediately I feel I’m home.

This is how theatre saved my life
In college, I experienced an epiphany. It was the early 1970’s, and society impressed upon me to hide my negative feelings or only express those feelings most accepted by others. I realized by sharing myself hiding behind a character, I could express  all my feelings and thoughts. I felt accepted universally.

That’s a heady experience which made me come back for more. Nearly forty years later, I’m happily stuck here.

this is how theatre saved my life

I became a director for a community theatre production of The Miracle Worker because there was no one else willing to do the job. Ha! I have a leader type personality and directing fit into my life. I was quite young to take on such a challenging production but I took to it right away. I saw the potential of affecting people through stories that I created in my own manner.

Now, I adore making a statement through words and actions.

As of this writing, I have directed over 250 plays and musicals with adults and children alike.  I chose to direct and act at the community level for most of my career.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy professional theatre.  On the contrary. I’ve appreciated the professional positions in which I have been employed.

It’s just not where my life’s journey has taken me.  I’m always open to work in whatever venue needs me.

I’ve portrayed many beloved roles–Maria in “The Sound of Music”, Marion Paroo in “Music Man”,  Dot in “Cricket on the Hearth”, Penny in “You Can’t Take it With You” and many others. Above all, more than any particular role or any special production, I have learned about myself.

Theatre saved my life.  It has given me great joy, creative challenges and great friendships (I even met my husband while acting in a show).

I don’t know where I would be without it.  image

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or check out my website at DeborahBaldwin.net.

I’d love to hear from you!

A Favorite Poem of Mine

Sometimes I write poetry.  This is a favorite poem of mine. This particular poem was created for a class while studying for my masters in arts integration.

favorite poem of mine

 

 

 

             Little Cedar Berry Farm

 

Two sweethearts

when freckled, picked berries from a bush

two of them, stationed on paralleled rows

between the full hedges, soft sweet and lush.

Black pups swooned near their necks and birds did crow.

Two sweet children each with a waffled tray

Practiced their skills, dyed their digits to red,

blew back their bangs and dredged aprons of lead.

Around the farm yard bench, the mother bays;

and to all the warm dusk, flirts fearless to be fed

moans for our tawny hands and sweaty heads.

Twelve full quarts they picked.  Some berries they ate

then sifted in green boxes, one by one and jostled the rosy nipples of fruit.

Beyond the tall grasses, though nearer the sun

I sat and watched them, yearning to be young.

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This is a photo of me when I was a young mother with our two darling daughters. Now I’m a grandma to the daughter of mine on the right in the photo.  The baby on the left is now fully grown and having her first child in the fall.  My, how time flies by….

Do you have a favorite poem of yours which you have penned?  I’d love for you to share it with me.

Contact me at Dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the following email: dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

Middle grades drama class

How to Make Your Drama Class More Successful –Lessons Learned from 38 Years of Teaching-Middle School

This is a three part series.  This is part two of it.

Click here for part one and part three:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/12/08/how-to-make-your-elementary-drama-class-more-successful-lessons-learned-from-38-years-of-teaching-drama-part-one/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/12/12/how-to-make-your-drama-class-more-successful-lessons-learned-from-38-years-of-teaching-part-three/

presser-kidsTwo of these kids are in middle school and two are in high school.  Can you tell the difference?

Novice drama teachers ask me what is my secret to success in the classroom. How do I make my drama classes so successful? Heck, I don’t know really.  I’m intense, have high expectations of all my students, energetic and enthusiastic about the subject matter.

Secondary level students, especially middle grade kids are a whole different bird than elementary.  It isn’t only their maturity level that sets them apart.  Obviously, their physical stature comes into play.

Every body part is changing rapidly.  In ninth grade, our daughter went through a different size of jeans every three months–one time this size, the next time a smaller size, the third time back up a size and needing a longer length. Around and around we’d go.

And boys?  It’s a little easier to spot their changing than the girls.  I’ve known many a young man who was a scrawny seventh grader grow to become a muscled ninth grader.  Prior to the maturing, the poor boy appears frantic that he won’t grow.   Then, whoosh! He turns the bend, grows four inches and carries a look of relief while developing his personal swagger.  I don’t blame him.  I would, too!

It’s the emotional quotient which divides them from the younger students. Think about when you were in seventh grade.  Oh gosh.

I was all over the place-confused, weepy, , silly, snotty and arrogant.  Remember my mother was quite ill by the time I was ten years old and I hid any negative feelings I felt because I didn’t want to exacerbate her health issues with the stress of raising me.

So what do we do in theatre classes?  We plop these smelly, sweaty emotional bursts of energy on a stage and ask them to show their feelings.  Yikes!  As if identifying their own emotions wasn’t difficult enough, we expect them to demonstrate someone else’s.

mahogany-et-al

Here are a few pieces of advice when teaching middle grade students:

  1. Give every one an opportunity for success every day.  Generally, this can be achieved through a warm up exercise that has no apparent “winner”.

  2. Help those students who are the loner type.  Assign them to a group of students who are welcoming and kind.

  3. Do you know the “smile and nod” technique?  It is difficult for someone to say no to you, when you are smiling and nodding. Middle school students can be very disagreeable. Try to smile and nod with your request.

  4. Give plenty of time for homework assignments.  Students this age have a difficult time making priorities. Ample reminders and extra time that you have built in to the assignment (they don’t need to know this) should help.

  5. Be sincere with them.

  6. Be very organized and prepared for class.

  7. Be trustworthy.  They don’t like to be tricked and can tell when they are being manipulated.

  8. Play fairly.  If you say, “Everyone will have a speaking part in our play” you better come through on that promise.  They will hold you to it.

  9. Provide many hands-on learning experiences.  They need to get up and move around at this age.

  10. Establish class expectations right from day one which includes boundaries as middle school kids will test your limits.

  11. Teach respect through positive criticism.

  12. At the same time, be careful not to over praise them.  Over praising doesn’t help anyone to grow.  Research has found the opposite. Always have high expectations. They will raise to them if you first believe in them doing so.

  13. Use side coaching when directing or instructing.  Like a sport coach, the students will more readily accept your corrections of them if you phrase your correction in threes–a compliment, then the correction and end with another compliment.

  14. If you have a reluctant learner, note the smallest positive attribute you see.  By merely noting it, over time the student should open up to you and trust you.

  15. Fear and humiliation play huge roles at this age.  My advice: make a fool of yourself and laugh at yourself A LOT.  Teach your students how to do the same with themselves.

  16. Kids of this age are very sensitive about their clothing and hair.  Never comment first on either.  Let the student first mention it to you then you can say something.

  17.  At the beginning of each class allow a few minutes for sharing.  Some students always have something exciting they want to share with the class. It could be something as simple as a girl went shopping at the mall with her bestie. That means everything to her. Other students who don’t share might divulge something if you can ask the right questions of them.  Rather than, “How was your weekend?” try “Tell me about something exciting or unusual that occurred over your weekend?” Many students never have an adult listen to them.  You can be their listener.

  18. Be on your game. Students of this age are melodramatic, hyper focus on themselves and can change on you in a moment’s notice.

  19. You have a very lasting effect and influence on middle grade students.  Not only are they learning from you, they are observing you in the classroom and around the school.  They love with their whole heart, so take good care of it for them.

  20. In any situation whenever possible,  temper your true feelings and always think of the middle grade student first.

If you haven’t noticed all ready, I didn’t discuss the actual teaching of the classroom on this post.  Generally, everything I suggested with the elementary students will work with middle grade students.  But the biggest challenge will be their emotional growth at this moment in their lives.  If you can master how to ” ride the tidal wave” with them, you will most surely succeed.

bethany

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Deborah@DeborahBaldwin.net

I’d love to talk with you.

 

A Super Review of Bumbling Bea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

STORY LINE BUMBLING BEA:In Bumbling Bea, author Deborah Baldwin creates an enjoyable look into growing up. Beatrice has one more chance to play the lead in the school play before she leaves middle school. After all, playing the lead will ensure she will be in with popular girls. She has planned all year towards this goal, she and her alter ego Bumbling Bea. However, things do not go as planned. A new girl has enrolled from Japan. Michiko talented, opinionated, and pretty, gets the lead roll. Beatrice and alter ego Bea refuse to be denied and devise plans to get rid of Michiko. Let the games begin.

Hilarity, missteps, and bungling follow as Bea and Michiko come to terms. My children’s contemporary novel review follows.

CHARACTERS, PLOTTING, AND DEVELOPMENT:

To begin with, I must tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Although classified as a children/preteen book, I found as a mature senior I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Filled with laughter, missteps, and trials of the young trying to grow up, I laughed out loud at Bea’s antics. As I read, I found myself remembering my preteen years and the emotions that ran riot. Author Deborah Baldwin captured the pain and confusion of transitioning from a child to preteen and the situations the immature mind can create.

Baldwin’s pacing of the story was inline with the length of the story. The pace did not lag or bog down, but was steady and smooth. Furthermore, I found the plotting skillful as Ms. Baldwin brought all the threads together to create a solid book.

Lastly, in concluding my contemporary children’s novel review, I found the book well written with well-developed main characters and secondary characters which added to the tension and story-line.

BUMBLING BEA RECOMMENDATION: STARS 4

In addition, I gave Bumbling Bea 4 well-deserved stars. Subsequently, I found Bumbling Bea suitable for children and preteens as well as adults. As a senior I enjoyed this funny look back at the preteen years.

To purchase a copy of Bumbling  Bea, go to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/product-reviews/1500390356/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#R1O9MYUNK49KNA

Bumbling Bea: The First Chapter

BB chapter 16

There has been a lot of traffic on the blog lately and I can’t help but wonder if folks are wondering about my book, Bumbling Bea. So, here is chapter one:

Chapter One

It was Peter’s fault.

“P!” I yelled to get his attention, “do I look like old Macdonald on the farm to you?”

I was splattered all over with the gross stuff. I swear it was already curdling and the entire cafeteria of students could see it. I smelled putrid–like yucky old, blackened, moldy cheese long forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. It made me wretch a little but I still managed to get in his face.

“Why don’t you drink juice or water? Now I smell like I’ve been working in a cheese factory. You’re such a dweeb, P.”

When I was mad at Peter, I called him “P.” He’d been P. ever since we were in kindergarten when he stuck a couple of peas up his nose and had to go to the hospital to get them out. And like those peas, the name stuck. And he was clumsy, BUT only with me. He defended himself like he always did which irritated me.

“Jeez, sorry Beatrice. I didn’t mean to nearly flip over your backpack and spill two miniscule drops of lactose on your precious jacket. It was blocking the aisle between the tables like always. You are so mean these days.” Peter huffed, stomping away from the lunch room.

It wasn’t me speaking to Peter. It was Bumbling Bea. I’ve discovered I have an alter ego who I call Bumbling Bea. Strange and mean thoughts come flying out of my mouth. They didn’t even sound like something I’d think or say! Bumbling Bea hadn’t been around for long, but when she did rear her scary head, it was at the worst times.

One of the most memorable of times Bumbling Bea showed up was when we gave our choir director a tennis racket as a going away present. He was getting married and leaving our school. He was obsessed with tennis and was a pretty decent player. I thought it was neat, even though he had knobby knees and skinny, hairy, Minnie Mouse legs which looked kinda’ weird in his way too short tennis shorts.

I thought of the present when I saw him hitting tennis balls on the tennis court after school one day. He was mumbling something and from seeing his temper in class, I figured it was about his students.

            It was the first time Bumbling Bea arrived. I was class secretary for him (which made me feel super important even though he had a class secretary for every other class, too.) I thought I had power and the other kids listened to me. Bumbling Bea liked that a lot! At lunch one day I was sitting by myself, as usual. I turned to the table with the popular kids sitting behind me. “I think we should buy our music teacher a going away present since he’s getting married and leaving us. How about we give him a tennis racket since he loves the game so much?”

Everyone agreed with me (which was a first) and those who didn’t, gave me a dollar per student donation anyway. If giving money for a teacher’s going away present kept you in or near the popular kids, you gave it. And they did!

I was so excited. I checked out tennis racket prices on the internet, Dave’s Discount and the hardware supply store. Dave’s had the best price. Most everything was less expensive at Dave’s Discount. My Dad told me it was because Dave bought up all the things other businesses couldn’t sell. Dad thought Dave’s had good deals even though sometimes their stuff fell apart after one use. Their price for the tennis racket was awesome and one my class could afford.

Since I found the tennis racket right away, I had a little bit of time left over before Dad picked me up so I looked around at the girls’ clothes. Normally, I didn’t look at your typical girls’ clothes because they were always way too pink and way too fluffy. Not at Dave’s, though! I found a black and white polka dotted bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and a package of panties—things were so cheap.

“You want me to put them in a Dave’s Discount box, honey?” wondered the clerk lady who smelled like cigarettes and chewing gum.

I heard about the Dave’s Discount boxes before. People used them to store about anything in them after they got them home: extra cat litter, broken toys, a bed for a puppy and so forth. They were sturdy, kind of a brownish tan color with black stripes printed on one side of them and the words “Dave’s Discount” plastered over the stripes.

Being so proud of myself for a. finding the tennis racket and b. buying the bikini, flip flops and panties all by myself, I accepted two boxes instead of one. I mean, they were free, you know? Dad said not to turn away free stuff if anyone at a store ever offered you anything free. I thought Dave’s Discount box was one of those free things he was talking about.

“Mom, we got a deal. The racket only cost thirty-six dollars.” I announced as I arrived home.

“Don’t forget to take off the price tag before you wrap it, Beatrice,” my mom reminded me as she whisked off to teach her art classes.

Mom! Sheesh. Sometimes she thinks I’m a baby…

My brother, Edmund, helped me wrap the box rolling it two or three times in wrapping paper and tying it with gobs of ribbons and a bunch of bows on it. We put the box in another box which went in another box. We thought it was so fun to unwrap when you received one of those sort of presents. Edmund laughed and laughed each time we played the trick on him.

This is so awesome. I said to myself. And when I tell him I chose the present, he will think I’m one of his coolest students for doing this for him.

That was Bumbling Bea talking. You see? Why would it matter whether my teacher thought I was the coolest student he had ever taught during his teaching career? He had thousands of kids he’d taught already and I was a lousy singer.

It was finally time to give the present. On the last day of classes before summer vacation, we usually sang through the year’s music one more time. The whole choir was singing happily, but they kept turning and looking at me. I was singing loud the way I never do because I was so excited about our present. Well, Bumbling Bea was singing exceedingly loud because she thought I was a better singer since I thought up the present.

It was the second time Bumbling Bea appeared.

Finally, the end of the hour came and it was time for the present. I stood lifting my head proudly, “We are sad you are leaving Oak Grove Middle School. We wanted to give you something to remember us when you are off in your new life.” I gave him the big box saying, “So, here is a little something to use to take out your frustrations on your new wife.”

Huh? What was that I said?

I was kinda’ nervous which was unusual for me and it freaked me out. So I tried again. “I meant, here’s a little something to use to take out your frustrations in your new life.”

Oh man. That wasn’t right either.

I tried one more time, “Oh, you know when you have a bad day at your new school and want to strangle your students, you can use this instead.” I cringed.

My teacher stared at me. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Beatrice. I’m never frustrated with my students.” He smiled at the rest of the class and ignored me.

I felt different on the inside of myself. Kinda’ smart aleck-y, but I didn’t know why. Maybe I was way too excited or nervous or awkward? When I am, I do dumb things to cover. It was how I felt that day. I wanted to sound grown up and cool and in charge, but I said three super dumb things to my teacher.

But I did more than say three dumb things.

Way more.

When Edmund and I were wrapping the tennis racket, Edmund’s pet ferret, Bernie, got loose from Edmund’s clutches and darted around my room. We were so busy screaming at Bernie that while trying to catch him, I guess my big fat foot accidentally pushed the box with the tennis racket under my bed. I picked up the other identical box with my new swimming suit, matching flip flops and the package of new panties and wrapped it instead.

Yes, you read it right: it was the box containing my new bikini swimming suit, matching flip flops and the new panties.

NEW PANTIES! NEW PANTIES!

But see, I didn’t know it was the wrong box because I wasn’t looking at my teacher when he finally opened the last box. I was busy picking up the left over wrapping paper.

Somebody whispered, “Beatrice, you left the price tag on the box.”

“Embarrassing,” another snickered.

THE PRICE TAG WAS SHOWING. THE STUPID PRICE TAG WAS STILL ON THE PRESENT.

I looked up and before I knew it, Bumbling Bea quipped, “There’s the price tag. It shows you how much we like you and I wanted you to know all us chipped in for it.”

Again with the dumb statements!

My teacher opened the box and there was no tennis racket.

BUT, there they were: the panties. Oh, the swimming suit and flip flops were there too, but all I saw were the PANTIES. It was as if they grew from a regular size to the size of a goal post on a football field. HUGE.

I stammered, “What? How did those get in there?”

My confused teacher said something to me, but the whole class was laughing so loudly I couldn’t hear him. I grabbed back the box and ran out of class and hid in the girls’ bathroom.

People called me “Panties” for days afterward until my mother heard them one too many times and threatened to call their parents.

Later I got the right present to my teacher but by then every kind of damage had already been done and I still forgot to take the price tag off the stupid present. I gave up.

Peter said later in the summer he saw my teacher hitting balls with our present tennis racket out on the court. He was back in town visiting his mother or something. I guess he hit one ball a little too hard, because the tennis racket’s webbing unraveled and when it fell to the ground, the handle fell apart, too.

Yup. Bumbling Bea steps into my skin right at the wrong time. Lately, there are more times she appears than I have until a crazy girl who wore cat ears visited from Japan. She made me see what I was doing by taking on my bumble-bea-ness herself. It’s all a little scary when you think about it.

 

Anne of Green Gables

Ten Reasons Why Everyone Produces Anne of Green Gables

Netflix is televising a new series of Anne of Green Gables which begins on May 12.  This is super news!anne-of-green-gables

Anne of Green Gables is a perfect play for your company.  How do I know?  I have directed it (not surprised, are you?) and produced it as well. In fact, I know that many companies have produced the play.

There are certain shows that are guaranteed winners for a company.  Anne of Green Gables ranks up there with The Diary of Anne Frank, The Miracle Worker, Alice in Wonderland, The Best Christmas Pageant to name a few.

If you want to attract people to your theatre, Anne of Green Gables is one of those plays of which you can’t go wrong.

There are many reasons to include it in your season, but suffice to say you will make happy a lot of your potential audience members and your regulars.  In particular, I recommend Sylvia Ashby’s adaptation. It is published by Samuel French at http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/8856/anne-of-green-gables-ashby-non-musical

The strengths:

1.The cast  is comprised of both males and females, BUT two of main characters are females.  Hallelujah!

Anne of Green Gables 3.jpg

2.There are roles for adults and children of many ages. Nine females and seven males.

3.The costumes can be as easy or complicated as your costume budget allows.

4.You’ll have to figure out how to make Anne’s hair turn green at one point, but that’s not too difficult.

5.There are several scenes with many characters on stage at once which means more time for everyone to have fun.

6. It’s a good length, about 120 minutes.

7.The set can be as elaborate are you require (I’ve seen it produced on a revolving stage.) or simple. I have directed it with the house up center and the other various locales down stage of it.

anne-of-green-gables-2

8.There is a need for a boat.  One time a father went crazy on me and built an entire boat (yes, you read that right), but really, that’s not needed.

9.In a school setting I directed it with two  Marillas and three Annes (one for each age we see as she grows up).  This plan was terrific for a number of obvious reasons.  It gave more females the opportunity to perform leads and lessened the number of lines they had to memorize.

10. The themes of family and friendship radiate through the plot.  It is suitable for all audiences.

There are no cons against producing the play, in my opinion.

So, the next time you are looking for a play that will become a guaranteed winner for your  audience, select Anne of Green Gables.  You’ll be glad you did!

Purchase my book, Bumbling Bea at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356

 

 

 

Dear Dance Student, I Recognize You from a Mile Away

This is a four part series of posts (this is the second). Check out one, three and four here:

Dear Drama Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

Dear Music Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

 

I love arts students. They are fun to be around and never fail to entertain you, that’s for sure.  Honestly, they are pretty easy to spot. These are generalizations and just for fun, to be honest. I asked for a little help from the people who know–teachers, artists, dancers, musicians and directors. Let’s see if you agree with us.

hip-hop-dancer

Dance students: (Thanks to Keturah Grunblatt, professional  director of operas and choreographer)

  • have a natural turn out when they walk
  • are poised
  • have erect posture
  • are always moving, dancing, stretching
  • girls can put their hair in a bun in record time, in fact their hair is always swept up
  • hear a beat to anything and dance to it–the washing machine, hammering on a set, slamming of lockers
  • sit like large dogs, with their legs all folded up underneath them
  • a knowledge of classical music
  • unnatural stretching,
  • health conscious appetite at a young age
  • wear form fitting clothes
  • look at their image and check themselves in any window reflection or mirror

 

dancer

 

Generally, if you are an arts student you are involved in one of the other arts as well.  These kids are very busy and like it that way.

What is most interesting about arts students is their popularity hierarchy within themselves.  If a guy is a tenor and he can sing as high as a female, that makes points for him.  The same goes for a girl who can climb a tall ladder and focus a light on a set.  If you are first chair violinist, you are popular, too or at the very least, respected. If a guy is a bass singer and he can dance, that’s another biggie.  If a girl can tap the heck out of a combination, you are considered “cool”.

However, if you are too serious about your art, the opposite is true.  Although revered, your friends may not even think to invite you to social events because they assume you are more interested in dancing or rehearsing than a pizza.

And anyone who is comical or can make everyone laugh automatically accrues popularity points no matter which art form they love.

Like most interests, there is a fine line to balance.  What is too much and what is not enough?

I appreciate this hierarchy somewhat, because it makes room for everyone in the arts. This popularity has nothing to do with beauty or brawn.  It’s all about talent and hard work. Everyone is an artist if they allow themselves to be.  Look for them. You’ll see.

Which art do you enjoy the most?  I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Purchase my book, Bumbling Bea on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the following email: jadeandoak@gmail.com.

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Dear Drama Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

This is a four part series of posts (this is part one).Click here for the other posts:

Dear Dance Student, I Recognize You from a Mile Away

Dear Art Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

Dear Music Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

I love arts students. They are fun to be around and never fail to entertain you, that’s for sure.  Honestly, they are pretty easy to spot. These are generalizations and just for fun, to be honest. I asked for a little help from the people who know–teachers, artists, dancers, musicians and directors. These are just tongue-in-cheek descriptions.  Let’s see if you agree with us.

IMG_0340

Drama students: (mine)

  • are expressive and look  for a “stage” everywhere (Our daughter used our front porch, small kitchen between the sink and the stove, the four and a half feet right in front of the television and even  performed at the end of  our bed.)
  • carry their script with them wherever they go and practice any time they can find or even when they are told not to
  • girls wear stage makeup as their street makeup, defending it because “It is the BEST quality makeup ever made!”
  •  everyday clothes are a kind of character–they like to make a statement (it could be a logo from a musical or maybe their current show shirt or a vintage skirt from the fifties)
  • perform an audition for you even when there are no auditions ( actors are always “on”)
  • speak as different characters, use accents, change their posture and gait to suit the character they are performing at whim
  • carry several plays to read whenever they have a chance or even when they are told not to
  • speak as different characters, use accents, change their posture and gait to suit the character they are performing at whim
  • carry several plays to read whenever they have a chance or even when they are told not to
  • lug around character shoes, rehearsal skirts or jackets, pencils, hi-lighters, water bottle
  • techies’ pockets carry nails, glow tape, screws, hot glue gun, left over gels for lighting equipment
  • clothing  is splattered in a recent set’s paint colors and left over saw dust is permanently engraved in the creases of their jeans
  • own A LOT of black clothing
  • change their hair color several times each year–usually something bright and bold
  • many love literature or language arts class (that only makes sense)
  • look at themselves in any window reflection or mirror whenever there is an opportunity
  • LOVE attention

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White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, Jr.
These kids are very busy and like it that way.

What is most interesting about arts students is their popularity hierarchy within themselves.  If a guy is a tenor and he can sing as high as a female, that makes points for him.  The same goes for a girl who can climb a tall ladder and focus a light on a set.  If you are first chair violinist, you are popular, too or at the very least, respected. If a guy is a bass singer and he can dance, that’s another biggie.  If a girl can tap the heck out of a combination, you are considered “cool”.

However, if you are too serious about your art, the opposite is true.  Although revered, your friends may not even think to invite you to social events because they assume you are more interested in dancing or rehearsing than a pizza.

And anyone who is comical or can make everyone laugh automatically accrues popularity points no matter which art form they love.

Like most interests, there is a fine line to balance.  What is too much and what is not enough?

I appreciate this hierarchy somewhat, because it makes room for everyone in the arts. This popularity has nothing to do with beauty or brawn.  It’s all about talent and hard work. Everyone is an artist if they allow themselves to be.  Look for them. You’ll see.

Which art do you enjoy the most? I’d love to hear from you dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Purchase my book, Bumbling Bea on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Bumblingbea.com
Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the following email: dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

 

A Great Review of Bumbling Bea

Sometimes life is so surprising. A review from Readingwritings.blogspot

FIVE STARS

“When it comes to books where children are the protagonists, I make it a point to share the story with my daughters. If they loved listening to it, then it means the story is really awesome.

Bumbling Bea is a story about a little girl and her trials and tribulations in the world of drama. The plot revolves around the emotions and thoughts that occupy a child. I wish I could elaborate further but that would lead to loads of spoilers and that would be like doing injustice to the author. You need to read it to actually experience it.

The writing style is simple and appealing. It is easily understood by children except for a few words that exposes them to a different culture like Kabuki. However, besides being a great read, Deborah ensures that her story constantly generates mental images and tugs at heartstrings. The choice of words used reflect the effort that she must have put in to make this story both child-friendly and adult-friendly.
There are no antagonists in this story. In fact, through this story, Deborah manages to portray human emotions through children. Children are both expressive and innocent. Hence, through their characters Deborah gives a peek into their world and how everything turns out just fine in the end. She brings out subtly that there is a Bumbling Bea in all of us irrespective of our ages. Yet, if the inner child is still alive and kicking, the negativity can be taken care of.

To sum up, this book is an absolute must read if your inner child loves to read. And if you have children, this is an awesome read for them as well. It helps connect you with the kid residing within you.

P.S – Deborah you have a wonderful narrative style and I chose to read your book because of this reason. My review is unbiased and I hope there are more adventures in the life of Bumbling Bea!!!”

Lakshmi Iyer

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You can purchase my book, Bumbling Bea on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Bumbling.ing Bea Ten Years Later

Ten Years Later: A Chat with Beatrice 

img_0464-4Bumbling Bea can be purchased through Amazon:

To purchase a copy of Bumbling  Bea, go to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/product-reviews/1500390356/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#R1O9MYUNK49KNA

 Beatrice Ten Years Later

I thought it might be fun and interesting to interview Beatrice ten years after the story ended.  So, I posed the idea to her and she happily agreed.

Imagine I travel to New York and the two of us meet at a local coffee shop (because everyone knows that’s where I’d meet her, right?).  Beatrice likes rainy, cool days, just as I do and she loves fall.  We have that in common.  Today was both.

Here is what I think she might look like:

beatrice-adult

(She’s cute, yes?)

Beatrice:  Hey, Deb.   (She gives me a quick, big hug and takes the pumpkin spice latte I ordered for her.) Pumpkin spice latte! If I ever meet the person who thought up pumpkin spice lattes, they get a big hug from me. (She places a maple leaf colored like fall in my hand ever so carefully.) I brought you a beautiful leaf I found on the ground.  Isn’t it fabulous?

Me:  Thanks, Beatrice.  What a gorgeous shade of orange it is.  I love the color orange.

Beatrice:  I know, me too!

Me:  I remember that about you.  Thanks for meeting me today.  (We sit in a corner booth.) Wow, ten years have passed by since we last saw each other.

Beatrice:  I know.  I’m twenty-five years old now.  Oh my gosh, that sounds so old!

Me:  Well, considering I’m sixty years young, you are doing just fine.

Beatrice:  (She laughs.) Ten years ago, I never thought I’d turn out this way.

Me:  What way?  You look great to me–all trendy clothes and hair. I thought you’d be a “positive, contributing member of society” and you are.

Beatrice:  (She leans forward and snickers.) Considering how I used to dress when you first met me, I’ve come a long way. I can’t believe how dorky I was!  The only thing I kept from middle school was my “I Heart Sarcasm” shirt  which Mom sewed into a tee shirt quilt along with all my  other show shirts.  I was so involved in college shows that I could have made three quilts!

Me:  Really?  Did you major in theatre in college?

Beatrice:  Yes, I did.  But I didn’t perform after my first year there. I’m not a performer.   I took an art class with a professor friend of my mom’s and found I wanted to combine theatre with art.  Voila, set design!

Me:  Are you working in theatre now?

Beatrice:  I am!  After high school, I attended Mary Baldwin College and received my BFA in theatre there.  I designed several sets for the department’s black box theatre and won an award for outstanding design.  Then I went to graduate school at NYU/Tisch.  I’ve been out of school and working about a year now.

Me:  Wow!  That’s an impressive resume.

Beatrice:  I guess so.  I don’t think about it much.  I’m too busy designing and getting my foot in the door.

Me: How so?

Beatrice: When I was in grad. school, I apprenticed for several professional designers on Broadway. Then I designed several shows for regional theatres.  I’m slowly building a resume. My goal is to design for Broadway by my thirties. In the mean time, I love it!  If you’d told me ten years ago I would become a set designer, I’d laughed.

Me:  I bet so.  How’s your family?

 edmund-adult

(Here is Edmund, all grown up.  Isn’t he handsome? And so smart!)

Beatrice:  My brother, Edmund, is in his second year of college  at University of Florida  studying zoology. Remember Bernie his ferret?

Me: Yes.

Beatrice: Well, we had Bernie number 3 and 4 before Edmund finally figured out he wanted to study animals and care for them since he’d done such a lousy job with his Bernies.

Me: Oh gosh.  What happened to his interest in flags?

Beatrice:  He still loves them.  He collects flags from all over the world.  You should see his apartment! The walls are covered with them.  I feel so sorry for his roommate.

Me:  And your parents?  People have asked about them.  Did they end up staying together?

Beatrice:  Uhm, no.  They didn’t.  But that’s okay.  It seems Dad wasn’t being completely honest with himself.  He came out about two years later, met a nice guy and they married last summer.

Beatrice's father.jpg

(This is Dad and Fred during a recent trip to Italy. Don’t they seem happy?)

We are all happy for them.  Mom wasn’t as fast to date. It took her longer.  She didn’t want to date while she was raising us.  She said she had enough responsibility just getting us grown.  But, I’m happy to report that  she is now dating a wonderful guy we all like a lot.

beatrices-mother

(A great, recent photo of Mom.)

Me:  Are your parents friendly with each other?

Beatrice:  Oh yes.  They were always very civil with each other. And more than anything, they respected each other.  Dad was the really unhappy one.  He was afraid of his feelings and didn’t want to admit them for a long time.  You’d think someone in the arts wouldn’t worry about other people’s perceptions, because when you are in the arts, you explore social issues  all the time.  But he worried anyway.

Me:  I’m sorry to hear that he worried.

Beatrice:  It was hard for all of us for a while, but not because of his lifestyle choice, but because he was so unhappy. I guess  when Dad was a kid, his parents ridiculed different lifestyle choices.  Plus, Dad’s parents thought his profession was silly and unnecessary.  It was Grandma Percy, Mom’s mom,  who helped him through his fears.

Me:  Really?  Your Grandma?

Beatrice:  Yes, my  eighty year old, awesome grandma was in the background observing us all the time.  She sees everything, but keeps it to herself.  She’s the one who urged dad to admit his homosexuality.

beatrices-grandma-percy

(Grandma Percy prior to her death last year.)

 It wasn’t a really big deal, because Mom and Grandma Percy handled it carefully and respectfully with us. Edmund and I were fine with it.  We want our parents to be happy. period.  And Mom and Dad are the best of friends.

Me:  I’d be surprised if you had a problem with your dad’s lifestyle choice.  I thought you were a pretty cool, open minded girl.

 

Beatrice:  When you first met me, I was such a brat and a little bit of a bully to Michiko. Thankfully, Michiko helped me see what I was doing when I caught her imitating me after the  fateful play performance. Since then, Bumbling Bea took a hike and doesn’t show up much anymore. And my parents’ open mindedness rubbed off on me.   When you are raised around parents who are artists, you see the world with different eyes.

Me:  Whatever happened to Michiko?  Do you have any news about her?

Beatrice's Michiko.jpg

(Michiko trying out modeling.  She didn’t enjoy it as much as she thought she would.)

Beatrice:  Yes! I didn’t hear much from her for several years.  Just a few emails back and forth, you know?  But guess what?  She’s moving to the US next month and going to share my apartment  with me in New York while I’m traveling for set design jobs.

Me:  So, you’ll be back together just like the old days?

Beatrice:  Kind of.  Hopefully, we won’t end up locked in our bathroom together. (She laughs.)

Me:  (laughing)  Those are great memories, though.

Beatrice:  You bet. When Michiko and I decided to room together, I teased her about having guys over.  She always has crushes on fellas, but I am sworn to secrecy in telling anyone. She laughed  about guys coming over and said that if she couldn’t have Peter, then she didn’t want anyone.

Me:  Peter!  I forgot about him.  What happened to him?

beatrices-peter

(Peter, now the cool guy.)

Beatrice:  We remained friends through high school and continue to see each other from time to time when I get home to my parents.  Peter is a middle school counselor  and still lives in Virginia. Apparently, kids love him and he’s hugely popular with all the staff.

Me:  I’m not surprised.  He had a winning personality. Did he and Jerri become a pair in high school?

Beatrice:  Yup.  All four years, if you  can imagine.  And Jerri was even home coming queen our senior year!  Jerri had a level head and other high school kids looked to her for advice.  Consequently, in her junior year, she created a youth friendship program between high schools pairing kids of the same interests with each other, sort of like a meet up group.  It was amazing.  Now, she works in student affairs in a college in the mid-west.

Me:  Wow!

Beatrice's Jerri.jpg

( A candid shot of Jerri.)

Beatrice:  I am lucky to know Jerri.  She helped me a lot when Dad came out.  So did Peter.  I’m still waiting to repay the favor to them, but they say they love my creativity and that’s enough for them.  They just want front row seats to the first show I design for Broadway.

Me:  Me too! So what will Michiko do in New York? Is she involved in theatre as well?  Does she have job prospects?

Beatrice:  Surprising even to me, Michiko did not continue her studies in Theatre when she attended college. She found it wasn’t as mesmerizing to her once she moved away from her parents. She said that one day she discovered that she loved world cultures.  I guess she was dating a guy from India at the time.  They broke up shortly afterward, but her love of cultures continued.

Me:  I’m surprised too!

Beatrice:   Michiko loves to travel.   She is applying for jobs in the travel industry.  She wants to become  a professional tour guide taking groups on international trips.  With her intense interest in history and her love of anything multi-cultural, becoming a professional tour guide would be a good fit.  I think she’s right.

Me:  Isn’t it amazing what can happen in ten years of one’s life?

Beatrice:  It is.  I mean look at you.  You’re a published writer now. And award winning, too! What’s your next book going to be about?

Me:  Well…..I can’t tell you much yet.  It’s still germinating in my brain.  Plus, we have moved to a different state and become first time grandparents all at the same time. (I pull out my cell phone to show Beatrice a photo.) Here’s a photo of our granddaughter.

 Abby and Grammy.jpg

(Grammy and Granddaughter)

Beatrice:  (laughing)  This photo is you all over!

Me:  Yeah, well, orneriness doesn’t die easily…..

(Beatrice’s cell phone dings a text.  She reads it.)

Beatrice:  (She sighs, smiling.) It’s Michiko. She arrives next week and is all ready having a hissy fit over the apartment. Apparently, when she visited our apartment to see if she wanted to live there, she noticed that the heat wasn’t working too well. I hadn’t even noticed.   In typical fashion, she notified  our super and demanded we get a better furnace system in the building.  Now, the guy is mad at her and threatens to make her life miserable once she moves in.

Me:  Oh gosh! You ready for life with Michiko again?

Beatrice:  (She stands and hugs me, ever so warmly.) I am ready.  I have been ready since she moved back to Japan when we were kids.  Some people never leave our life no matter what.  Michiko is that kind of friend to me.

Me:  I agree.  So, I’ll see you again in ten years?

Beatrice:  No, let’s make it two years.  I think readers might like to hear what happens to us next.

Me:  It’s a date!
Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the email: dhcbaldwin@gmail.com