The Kids (and I) are Alright by Jessie Thompson, director of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
This year, thanks to HG, I helped out a bit with the HG kids theater camp, and now am directing ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, a story about a particularly intense and struggling kid who happily does find her place in the world. There is also a fun and feisty group of school kids in this show who play Anne's friends and contemporaries. For me, working with kids is mostly new. It has not been perfect. The classes I led at the kids camp this summer had their successful moments, but not all my lesson plans went over as fantastically as I imagined. Sometimes at rehearsals for ANNE OF GREEN GABLES I think, "Should I know more about working with kids to be doing this?" I didn't raise any kids, nor have I really spent much time with them in general. Do I really know what I am doing?
But when I look around, it seems like we are doing alright. There are smiles and a healthy amount goofing off and giggling. I remind myself that I was, in fact, a kid myself, once upon a time, so I know plenty. This kid has been around the block, and she was also lots of fun. Back in the day I would happily spend all day at the theater rehearsing a show, sniggering with my show-friends, and loving being onstage, and I think these kids are having a good time too. They will wow you with their beautiful voices and the creative approaches they are taking with their roles.
Scene by scene, I encourage them to add more layers to their characters. Last week we went around the circle and talked about each character's personality - we've got a "class clown", a "hopeless romantic" a "bully" a "know-it-all, some "mean girls" a girl with "something to prove", a "gossip" and many other personas. We are playing with the dynamics of how they interact with each other, and coming up with both fun and funny moments, as well as some truly moving ones.
It is very satisfying to see how it is all coming together - and that we are all getting along just fine - despite my lack of kidsperience. I can't say at this point that I've found my calling, but the kids and I are perfectly alright. Don't miss their wonderful performances!
And the adults in this show? Well they are quite spectacular too...including the talented musicians offering pre-show Celtic music!
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