September 4, 2006

Life Notes from the Director

I'm trying to find this file I made last year for my night class. I can't find it yet, but I came across these director's notes from a few years ago. You didn't know I directed plays, too? Well, I don't anymore. That was one of my jobs at my last school. "Coaching" drama was usually frustrating, but on the night of the performances I would get all sentimental. Now, I'm no Robert Fulgum--although we did put on All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten one year--I think these are rather profound words of wisdom.


HappyChyck's Director’s Notes from
That High School’s production of
Neil Simon’s Fools

This year we have a lot of new talent. It seems like there is just not enough time to prepare these students for everything they will experience in their first performance. Tonight these notes are for the cast members more than for the audience because the more I think about it, the more being in drama provides many life lessons. There are some lessons, however, that everyone can enjoy:
  1. “Cheat!” In theater that actually means to face forward so people can see you. Don’t turn your back on the audience. I can see where this might be confusing to the students who also have me in English class when I say, “Don’t cheat!” That’s a different lesson book, though.
  2. “Project!” Speak up so people can hear you.
  3. “Be on time!” Well, we are still working on that. Maybe if I make them run laps like the basketball coaches do…
  4. “Put plastic down before you begin painting the sets.” “Don’t wear your good clothes when painting.” Parents, I swear I keep telling your students the latter one.
  5. “Guys, do not wear white socks with dress shoes.” If you are asking, “Why?” right now, I roll my eyes at you, too.
  6. “Do your best and have fun.” That one alone is important to remember every day.

The biggest life lessons that will be learned by our young actors tonight during the performance cannot be articulated. It has nothing to do with the storyline of the play. It has to do with having—or not having—theater in your blood. Here’s a big secret for you, the audience. While you watch, earth-moving things are happening to the actors. We don’t always see the effects right away, so don’t look too hard. Don’t worry, as audience members you are simply expected to just sit back and be entertained…relax and laugh…If you learn some profound life lesson from tonight’s experience, that’s okay, too.

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