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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Alice in Wonderland, vol. II

We've begun to do some scene work, and it's going more smoothly than I expected. After a bit of a miscommunication hiccup late last week, K and I had a good, productive conversation about sharing the labor and getting in touch at least once a day. It's necessary if we're really co-directing this thing, and K is incredibly overworked at her job, so finding a routine for the two of us is imperative and will keep me sane.

Friday afternoon, we spent the time at rehearsal breaking the scenes down into simple objectives, which, with a group of 15 kids and a huge range of experience, not to mention vocabulary skills, was challenging. My goal was to shed light on the idea that in a scene there are things that you want that other people in the scene keep you from getting and so you must use different tactics to try to get what it is you're seeking. It's a basic acting lesson, but I'm finding that my brain doesn't really run on simple mode and that it's generally difficult for me to break something down into little nuggets of clarity for the younger kids. K is very good at that, but sometimes breaks things down too simply. I want to be sure that the younger kids are not being patronized too: I don't want them to just play "angry." It's a fine balance between clarifying something and dumbing it down. The kids I can use my everyday vocabulary with, my catchphrases with, are the ones I'm gravitating toward. Luckily, our principals are very strong and seem to speak my language.

Yesterday, we started from the beginning of the act and got some good, more specific work done. The biggest challenge is keeping the other kids occupied when I'm working with just a few on a scene. At this point, we've had them watch one rehearsal (which was fine until about 1/2 hour until the end of class) and work together in small groups and then present the scenes they'd worked on. Tomorrow, we're going to hope that they're satisfied with a long warm up, some projection exercises, and then working on their lines, until we get through the end of the act. Then, perhaps they'll be OK with watching while we finetune and run it.

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