Several years ago we mounted the very large full-scaled production of Mary Poppins on our regular stage. It was a large, full of special effects, show that pushed us to be better that we were. Flash forward several years and I decided that I wanted to do a theater camp that didn’t need much work costume or set wise since we all ready had both from the full production that we had produced several years ago. Ha!
Theater camp is a different experience all together. We audition on Monday. Tuesday we start developing characters, learning choreography and music, memorizing lines and working all the set and prop movements. We also build lights and sound and set and costumes and well, the work is still a lot! Eight days later we mount a full scale show! Whew!
Today was the eighth day. I might have cried a little. I am so proud of all these students have learned in such a short time.
So have we learned anything?
I hope so. I hope we’ve learned more than the lines, music and etc. I hope we’ve learned the value of team work and responsibility. I hope we’ve learned how much work it takes to put on a good show and HOW MANY PEOPLE IT TAKES to create the magic that goes with a good show.
There are lessons in the show itself that we have talked about as well.
Mary Poppins is a redemptive story about a father who can’t be bothered with his children because the pressures of life have him working hard to create the “right” impression for the “right” people and to work hard to because the pressures of the job demand it.
Who can forget his lament?
‘A man has dreams of walking with giants
To carve his niche in the edifice of time.
Before the mortar of his zeal has time to congeal
The cup is dashed from his lips,
The flame is snuffed aborning,
He’s brought to rack and ruin in his prime.’
Ah! The pressures of life.
We can all fall slave to them.
Let’s take a moment to remember that we don’t have to compete to always “keep up with the Jones'”. Let’s not work so hard at living that we forget who we are living with.
I wish I could spend one more day in the park with my kids that’s for sure!
Take a moment to watch this interview with our “Bert” and “Mary.” We open tomorrow!
Please make sure you like and share if you enjoyed this episode!
Acting doesn’t run in my family. Well, at least it didn’t. My grandfather and most of my relatives are great storytellers, but as far as I know my cousin David and I are the only ones that turned to any form of acting, or directing as a profession.
Then I had children and they did what I never had the courage to do when I was young. They auditioned and had part after part in grade school and high school. Two of them went on and had parts in college as well.
All three of my children ended up in the speech/communication field. They all three have settled in different areas, but the foundation of speech and rhetoric I believe is at their very core.
I never pushed them to love speech, but I’m very proud that they did.
As you already know, I firmly believe in the power of speech and that God gave us the ability to use that powerful gift. It is a gift we must use wisely.
Flash forward several years (Ok maybe more than several, but time goes by quickly) and now my oldest daughter has taught college level speech classes and poured her love of speech and drama into a new generation.
Then, seven years ago, God gave her a new responsibility and she decided to hang up the college teaching for teaching Logan, her first born son, and several years later, Lilia.
I immediately began to count the years reminding her with each passing one….”Only six more years and Logan can come to theater camp at Overshadowed.” To which Becca would smile at me and say, “Oh, Mom, I don’t know if he would ever be interested in that.”
Then, this week happened. Someone asked Becca if she thought that Lilia was old enough to carry off a part in a musical. We weren’t sure, but seeing as the play isn’t until next year and Lilia will be a little older–Becca decided to explain the process to Lilia. (Who will be 5 next month.) At first, Lilia was NOT interested. Then Becca explained to her how much she loved being on stage and about her first part when she was in Kindergarten! Lilia was hooked.
But then, this story gets amazing. As Becca would teach Lilia the song she would point out notes or words or things that could make the audition better. Lilia would respond, “Ok, mommy, let’s do it again! I want to make it good.”
Proud grandmother, and director here. I gotta tell you. That’s rare.
Oh, that she would stay young and innocent. May she always want to do a good job and not be afraid of the work it takes to get there. May she have a teachable spirit and not be proud and haughty.
It’s tough to stay like that in a field like this.
Mother and daughter worked for over an hour. Keep in mind, Lilia was learning, music and words and character. Then, it came time to send in the video audition. Becca had arranged for someone to come play the piano so that she could film, but the pianist forgot. So Becca had to figure out how to record the audition. In the end, she decided that Lilia would just need to sing it without the accompaniment.
After a few takes they decided on this one.
Well, you know how auditions go. You start telling yourself it’s ok if you don’t get the part. You tell yourself that you might not be right for it. You convince yourself that there is a lot of work involved and maybe it’s better if you don’t get it. We all thought all those things.
But then, we thought about how cute she was and how directable she was and found ourselves hoping, but understanding.
The process didn’t take long. The next day we knew that the director had decided to go with an older girl. When Becca went to tell Lilia she thought Lilia would be ok because she hadn’t really wanted to do it in the beginning. But, when you work hard at something……
Lilia was quite sad and responded, “I’m never going to get to be in a play.”
All this time Logan, the sweet brother that he is, watched and encouraged, and even suggested they get Lilia ice cream that night.
At the end. He said he might want to be in a play sometime too.
Well, that makes my heart really happy. So next year, I’m planning that they both come up for Overshadowed’s theater camp! Watch out, Illinois!
Here are my takeaways,
Auditions are hard. No matter how much you prepare yourself you just might not be what the director wanted. Try to learn from it and be better next time. (Even though you might not get that part either.)
You aren’t too young or too old. Get out there and try to do something you’ve always wanted to do, but maybe been afraid of. It’s ok. We are all rooting for you.
Auditions take work. Don’t just stand up and sing a song you don’t know. Work at it. Prepare. Make it better. You’ll be better for it.
Have confidence. Even if you didn’t have time to learn all the words. Sing it out and don’t make apologies for voice or time or anything. The casting panel has heard it all and starts to think of them as excuses.
Lastly, always do your best. Try to have fun and whatever happens enjoy the rest of your day.
By the way, when I went to college I had a tremendously thick Southern accent. For only the third time in my life I got up courage to audition. The University had a group called the Classic Players , a group that did only Shakespeare at school. I performed Lady MacBeth’s monologue . You know the one? “Out, Out damn spot.” Now say it again, with a thick accent.
I never heard back other than they didn’t need me, but my cousin, David, (the other one in my family that I mentioned earlier) was on the casting staff. Leave it to the ones you love to tell you the truth.
David said they all held it together as they said good-bye to me…then almost fell out of their chairs laughing.
When someone tells you a story like that is there any wonder why you wouldn’t audition again?
But listen….my God wanted more for me. He continued to mold me and put the desires of theatre in my heart and now…now I can encourage others and make sure they understand how valuable they really are. I think that’s why auditions are so hard for me. I understand the disappointment. I understand the pain. I truly feel bad that I don’t have the room to give everyone a part or the part they want.
Lilia, you are going to be amazing one day….maybe as a dancer, maybe a singer, maybe a mother, but whatever it is you are incredibly special.
Logan, the same goes for you. How kind and loving you are. Always take care of your sister, but know that you are special in your own way as well.
I can’t wait to direct both of you.
One other thing….there is one small payback issue…..
Becca was talking to Logan about my theater. Logan replied, “Well, she doesn’t do that anymore right?”
Becca said, “Well, yes, that’s what she does. She directs. Why?”
Logan said, “I thought she was too old.”
Just so you all know. You are never too young or too old. Get out there and do it!
I’d love to know about your auditions! I’m really trying to grow my readers so if you enjoyed this please follow me and spread the word! Thank you!
Tuesday opened to a workshop called. “How Do We Know We Are Good Theater Teachers.” This session was taught by Peter Avery who is the Director of Theatre, NYC Department of Education. New York has one of the largest school systems and Peter oversees all aspects of theater education.
Granted I have never taught in the public school system, but I’m wondering if all states are as fortunate. It was a fascinating example of how theater can teach and inspire students. After discussing what theater education looks like in New York. Peter showed us a video of a teacher in action. Here are my take aways:
The entire class was involved. Together they inspired and motivated each other.
A student was assigned to be a stage manager. He/she would call time to keep the class on track.
At the end of class they break into pairs and communicate the one thing they learned from class that day and the one thing they need more work on. They communicate it to each other not publicly in the class.
I loved how involved everyone was. I loved that the evaluation took place in a way that forced them to repeat what they learned that day. I am thinking about using that technique as we begin rehearsing our next play.
The next session was on Stage Management and was taught by Matt DiCarlo who is the current stage manager for “The Play That Goes Wrong”.
There are three parts to stage management.
Organizational. This I all ready knew. Having a good stage manager is such a valuable necessary asset. A stage manager takes care of everything from the stage and behind. They organize the set changes, and oversee the choreography of entrances and exits. They make sure everything is in its place. They also usually keep an emergency kit that has everything from band aids, safety pins, batteries, highlighters, breath mints, flashlights, glow tape, aspirin and anything else that the cast might need in an emergency. Stage Managers are in fact, life savers.
Technical. The stage manager sometimes runs scenes, takes the place of the director if necessary, keeps track of communication and schedules and run times. They also call cues at times during performances.
Artistic. It is the stage managers responsibility to maintain the product. In most theaters once the show opens the director moves on to other shows checking in only occasionally. The stage manager is then in charge of making sure the actors and everyone else stays true to the production the director created.
The stage manager must have an understanding of what everyone does.
Scheduling goals: They rehearse M-F, 10-6 for five weeks. In that five weeks they have two weeks of tech.
Resources: Production Stage Management For Broadway by Peter Lawrence.
Recommended apps: Wanderlist /base camp
Let me just say–I love being a stage manager. If I didn’t direct, I would want to stage manage.
After lunch we had a chance to meet with Diana Rigg. Those of you who are young might not know her, but I LOVED her in the TV show The Avengers. (Not the marvel comic book characters.) She is currently staring in “My Fair Lady.”
Take aways: “I don’t care what your private problem is. Your problem is to see what’s on the page and to get it right.”
” Actors are here to serve the directors, the play and the audience.” (Hmmm perhaps that’s a blog post all in itself)
I loved her directness and witty sense of humor. My favorite moment was when one of the teachers asked her how she kept a performance fresh after performing it night after night. She looked confused and then answered, “I’m a professional!”
That night we went to see ” Mean Girls.” Imagine our delight when Jonalyn Saxer, our dance instructor from day one, as swing played the lead! She was amazing and we loved her.
I did not like the play. It was upbeat and lively and while I knew the main lesson it was trying to teach, I felt that it glamorized the art of being mean rather than the proper way to stand up to bullies. My most disappointing moment was a song that was dedicated to “giving the finger” to those who mistreat you. I just cannot think that’s the message we want a new generation of young girls to shoulder!
Should you see it? My vote would be no. Even though I could teach you the dance moves to the closing number, “I See Stars.”
Have you seen “Mean Girls”? How is theater in the public school system where you are? I would love to hear your thoughts!
So what does any good director do after tech week? Go to New York, of course! Well, I wish I could go after every tech week, but time doesn’t allow such luxuries!
Every year Music Theater International puts on a workshop called Broadway Teachers Workshop. I had the opportunity to attend last year and decided that this is something I really should attend every year if possible. So I packed my bags and flew out Saturday morning. I decided to add two extra plays to the experience. So, over the next couple of days I am going to let you share my experiences.
First night….Frozen! It was everything I wanted it to be and more. The moment the lights came up I was enchanted by Zoe Glick and MiMi Ryder who player young Anna and Young Elsa. They were so precious and did such a fantastic job of portraying the young girls exactly how I envisioned them. The audience loved Olaf and Sven and were really caught up in all the beloved characters. (one of the things I love about a New York audience is the way they applaud when each new character enters the stage for the first time.)
After seeing the movie I was so curious as to how this production could ever happen, but Disney did it again. The special effects were amazing and we all looked in amazement as the stage turned into an “ice place.” Cassie Levy left us breathless at the end of the first act when she belted out, “Let It Go.” Causing us to say, Idina who?
The one moment I didn’t care for was during the second act when the ensemble sang “Hygge.” At first the ensemble had towels on as they came out of the “warming house”, but on their next entrance they removed their towels and had leaves in both hands that they used to cover their private areas in a choreographed routine. I’m just not sure why that was necessary. I was quite distracted by it.
At one point I looked across the aisle and saw a women a little younger than me singing and smiling with reckless abandonment. That’s why we do it, folks. That face said it all. If you get a chance make sure you see this show. It’s that good!
On Sunday morning I attended a one day director’s workshop. Our speaker was Peter Flynn (most recently credit was directing an off-broadway production of Ragtime at the Ford theater.)
I should write a whole blog post about this one day. He was so fantastic! Here are the highlights:
There are no absolutes.
We don’t tell the story. We interpret the story.
Directing a show is not about our comfort, but rather our clarity.
Always remember we are in a service industry.
Be specific and authentic.
And so much more…. He was so good.
Next I went to see Harry Potter parts One and Two. For more on that check out this video from The Potter Collector who joined me on this adventure! https://youtu.be/o8OqodytIDE
If you’ve seen any of these plays or have comments about Peter’s workshop make sure you leave a comment!
It’s been 12 years since we first watched Troy and Gabriella ring in the new year, and heard those iconic songs that bring memories of a brand new way of musical dancing. I remember watching the Disney special that proclaimed you could learn the dance moves and dance along with the finale. I tried for awhile and realized that they weren’t really talking to me….(ah, to be young again).
After the movie came two sequels and a stage production and a message, well, actually several messages.
1. Be brave enough to try something new.
When Troy and Gabriella were first pushed on stage together to sing karaoke, they were totally beyond their comfort zones. In spite of their fear they discovered something new that they really enjoyed! We often are afraid to try something different–don’t let fear stop you.
2. Break the weight and bonds of cliques.
Learning to enjoy things that others do is a wonderful part of life. The drama geeks can all learn from the jocks who can learn from the tech wizards who can learn from the….well, you get my drift. High school is such a short period of time. Don’t miss something really special by staying in a clique.
In fact, one of my favorite moments as a director was watching one of the “jocks”of the high school I was volunteering at get the courage to audition for Fiddler on the Roof. His hands were shaking so bad! He got the part and proceeded to lead that school in a way that really helped make all the students more well rounded.
3. The “status quo” is a prison that we put ourselves in.
All it took was word that Troy Bolton started singing for an entire cafeteria of students to confess their own secret passions. It’s amazing how people follow the leader. If you have a secret desire to try something new go for it!
4. Communicate with your parents.
This is a part of the movie I feel very strongly about. I think it’s important to be respectful of your parents. If they want you to do something it’s probably because they want the best for you. But, maybe they just don’t know how powerful your feelings are inside of you. It was hard for Troy to tell his dad that he was interested in theater because he didn’t want to hurt him, but believe me, your parents want you to talk to them and share what you are going through.
5. There’s room for everyone on stage.
Oh, I could talk forever about this one. Sharpay and Ryan were the leads in every musical. They intimidated others and thought they were better than everyone else. People–just because you aren’t the lead doesn’t mean that someone is better than you. Every person on the stage is important and sharing the stage makes a much better show! Please don’t feel like you aren’t talented or not important just because you didn’t get a solo or named part. Also, don’t be opposed to playing something other than the lead. Many times being a part of the ensemble can be just as challenging and rewarding.
6. A real friend is in your court no matter what.
It may have been hard for Chad to accept that Troy was getting his head into a game other than basketball, but in the end, he wanted his friend to be able to fulfill both his dreams. Real friends stand by you even if the
things you have in common start to change. They support you as you gain new skills and encourage you to be a better person.
7. You’re never alone.
Remember this. In this day and age that the suicide rate is up–this lesson is important. We’re all in this together. Some days are hard. Sometimes you might feel like you are alone. You might feel that you aren’t smart enough or talented enough or loved enough. We are all in this thing together, and there’s nothing that you’re going through that a million others aren’t too. Remember that.
This past two weeks 41 students, 7 directors, 3 costumers and a 3 person tech team came together to put on our own production of High School Musical, Jr. We created memories, made new friends and hopefully were all reminded of these very lessons.
Theater camp is one of the highlights of my year. To all of those involved: thank you for making this experience so delightful!
Musical theatre teaches.
What are some lessons you learned from camp or High School Musical ?? I’d love to hear from you!
Do you ever wish you could go back and do things over?
Sometimes you might want to have a redo. Other times it might be because it was such a wonderful experience that you’d like to enjoy it all over again. This past weekend someone told me that there is a fad now saying that your life is defined by what song was #1 on your 14th birthday. (Mine, by the way, was “I’ll Be There.” I can’t tell you how much I love that!) Of course, the second I heard that I was fourteen again in my mind.
The years that marked my time between Jr High and High School were spent in North Carolina. I was a butterfly desperately trying to get out of her cocoon. I didn’t have confidence and honestly I feel most of that could have been changed with the help of teachers in my life that encouraged and mentored me instead of humiliated me….yeah, Jr. High was rough….
But then we moved back to Kinston. I loved Kinston. I loved my grandfather, Pop. We would walk together and he would tell me stories and listen to me and sometimes we would just be. (For more on my grandfather our next season will contain a play about a portion of his life. Look for it in the fall of 2019, “I Remember Pop”) Pop would listen to me and most of the time help me discover what we really important. I always felt like I could achieve and do something that mattered when I was around him.
Flash forward to those days I would wander into the back of the local high school theater. (a school I didn’t attend. For more on that read: https://fromthewings.org/2018/04/20/by-no-stretch-of-the-imagination/) The drama teacher stopped me and asked me why I was watching instead of participating. He then told me that he directed a theater group in the summer and he would love for me to get involved. As you know from the other post, I did. Throughout that summer my life changed. I gained such confidence. The confidence to try new things. The confidence to speak up. I also began to gain skill as the rehearsals involved singing and dancing. I loved every moment.
Next week, our first summer camp of 2018 begins. (By the way, we still have four spots left! Come join us! overshadowed.org ) Why do we have camps? It’s not to make money. It’s for a list of reasons:
To provide an affordable theatrical experience. We learn everything in two weeks. We have auditions on the first day and teach and intensely rehearse for the next days until the three performances complete with costumes and set are performed the following week. What a rush!
To teach. To help students to find new skills and hone the ones they all ready have.
To provide a safe environment. We do not ask anyone to wear clothes or do something on stage that they might not be comfortable with.
To encourage. (We are all in this together!)
To change lives. Simply put, I believe the aspect of putting a play together in this short amount of time unifies the cast in ways that are unexplainable. I believe that our team of directors really care about the student more than the production and that we work to make each person feel important.
During that summer of community theatre someone asked me why I blushed so much. I couldn’t answer him because I was too embarrassed to get the words out. His reply, “My goal this summer is to get you to be able to speak confidently. The best gift God gives us is our speech. You ought to be able to use it effectively.”
I have held on to that life changing concept. That. Simply that. Is WHY.
If you are in theater, please remember the power you have. But it’s a good reminder for all of us I believe.
Do you have a story about the power of theater? Or speech? Or camp? Please take a moment to share it with us!
If you looked in my closet anytime over the past 40 years you would get a pretty good picture of what was influencing me at the time. In high school it was one style which changed radically when my parents sent me to Bob Jones. Those four years set me on a course of a different style for the next twenty years. I remember the first time my daughter told me to stop wearing clothes that were at least two sizes too big for me. Traumatic. Now, you might be thinking that everyone’s closet does that, as styles change our clothes change.
Late ’70’s College years
Unfortunately, mine was much more than that.
For most of my life I found my self-worth in the people who I desperately wanted to value me. I needed acceptance. I wanted to do the things that I thought were important–not to me–but to get noticed. I can’t count the number of hours I spent in my room trying to do a head stand and learning a cheer, because I knew that everyone loved the cheerleaders. The cheerleaders were the girls everyone wanted to be like and the ones all the boys dated. I never found the courage to try out.
I’m not sure why I was able to change so radically. But, I did things that I never thought I would have courage to do. I found myself as an alternate on the cheerleading squad on Nu Delta Chi. (Thank you, Eugene Banks) From there I auditioned on a huge stage for a Shakespeare production. I was proud of myself for trying. Until my cousin told me the panel almost fell out of their seats laughing at me when I walked off the stage.
I never auditioned like that again.
And just like that in the first month of my freshman year you see two examples that had a dramatic impact on my life. One, a kind upperclassman who encouraged everyone at our dinner table. (we had assigned tables my first few years of college–with an assignment upper-class students to be host and hostess) Eugene might not realize the impact he had on me, but it was lasting and positive. The other, words that might not have been intended to hurt, but did; deeply.
Thus, this self-confidence, self-esteem monster I was fighting inside took control again.
confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect; faith in oneself.
Second year teaching ’82?
1984 baby shower with my Cheerleaders!
Why is it so difficult to have just the right amount of self-esteem? Go too far and it’s pride–equally an ugly monster. But, I think it’s also a sin to not have enough self-esteem. It cripples you from doing the very things you are passionate about doing.
Ways to Improve Your Self-esteem
1: Focus on the promises of God.
Now, if you are reading this and don’t believe in God–that one is going to be difficult for you. If, however, you do believe, then you know that the scriptures are full of promises. I used to print verses out and paste them everywhere. I needed to win the battle in my mind. My favorite: Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
2: Focus on what is truly important.
Sometimes we spend too much time trying to be something or someone that is important when we don’t realize that something or someone is a misplaced value. Are the things/people you admire superficial or based on image and quantity? Are you allowing your life to be dictated by what is important to others?
3. Take time to look back on your life and recognize the positive. Scan old pictures and notes that people have written and remember the good. Try not to dwell on a false reality of what might have been, but on the blessings you have been given.
4. Do Unto Others. Think about volunteering. Serving others makes you think about others and less about yourself. It is a positive experience as you meet the needs of others. It will begin to give value to yourself and others.
5. Exercise. It helps improve your mood and your physical health. Do I need to say more?
6. Look on mistakes as a way to learn instead of failure. Don’t beat yourself up your short comings. Realize that everyone makes mistakes. Look at it as a learning opportunity and get better.
7. Find time to do the things you enjoy. If you are enjoying things you will more than likely think more positively.
What does all of this have to do with the stage?
I totally believe that God used circumstances in my life to set me on my life’s course. Francine Rivers said it best in one of her books. She described our lives as a work of tapestry explaining that on the front our lives look all put together and beautiful, but if you turn it over and look on the other side you will see all the places God had to string together to get us in the right spot. Don’t you see? What might look like a mess to you is becoming a work of art!
God used my shyness to put people in my life that would connect me to drama. The imagination He gave me has allowed me to love stories. My parents sent me to Bob Jones University which shaped my philosophy of Drama, but also gave me courage and confidence. Then from teaching (which I really didn’t want to do at first–that’s a blog all on it’s own!) He gave me wonderful students over and over again–some of them have played on the Overshadowed stage! He gave me their parents to encourage and support, but also be such a part of the team of Overshadowed. I believe that my lack of self-esteemed has allowed me to minister in ways I could not have done. I think without that battle I would not have started Overshadowed not only did He place a wonderful dream/vision, but also provided the people to help it come true. God really did give me the desires of my heart. Trust Him.
What about you? Is this a battle you fight? Do you have a way your lack of self-esteem has ended up being a victory or blessing? Please take a moment and write a comment or share this blog!
Cinderella has always held a fascination in my heart. What girl doesn’t dream of the handsome prince picking her out of a crowd, falling madly in love with her and then giving her a “happy every after?”
When I was younger I would watch the version of Cinderella that had been filmed for TV. For awhile I think they played it every year. Most of my guy friends thought that Lesley Ann Warren was a beautiful princess in her own right and all the girls I knew felt the same about Stuart Damon, who played the prince. I had the piano sheet music and at least once a week I would plunk out each of the songs and sing them with all the gusto I could muster. Of course, I would pretend to be each of the characters as I sang. I’m sure you all did that as well, right?
“In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. On the wings of my fancy I can fly anywhere and the world will open it’s arms to me.
I’m a young Norwegian princess or a milkmaid. I’m the greatest Prima Dona in Milan. I’m an heiress who has always had her silk made by her own flock of silkworms in Japan…….
Just as long as I stay in my own little corner…all alone in my own little chair.”
Perfect song for me. It fits the dreamer–the shy girl who lived in her imagination where she could be anything she wanted to be.
So it was with great joy and anticipation I attended the revised version of Cinderella this past weekend.
Here are my thoughts:
The costume design was by William Ivey Long. I found that the palette of colors he chose was less than exciting. While I loved the fullness of the ball gowns, I was sad that they weren’t awe-inspiring. I wanted them to be luscious and rich, but instead I felt like they were just puffs of material. There was a great deal of attention given to the magic of making the dresses transform from rags to fancy (which was exciting) but in the process the rest of the costumes were just well…average.
Set Design and Technical
As we walked past the doors to find our aisle I caught a glimpse of the set.
“Oh, my goodness!” I blurted out! “The set!” Beautiful! Simple (there was not one blackout in the entire play.) The flat surfaces had leaves and vines attached to them so that it gave them a beautiful 3-d effect. The artistry of the painting gave the set the right amount of realism yet gave a nod to the fact that this is a fairy tale. The technical aspects of the show were brilliant. I loved the penlights that with the haze created a dreamlike atmosphere. My favorite moment? Well, along with everyone else in the room– the moment that Cinderella turned and her costume completely changed into a ball gown. If you haven’t watched that moment on You Tube–make sure you do. It’s stunning. Cinderella does that move twice and the Fairy Godmother has her own moment when she transforms from a beggar. I will be honest, the transformations were my favorite moments in the show. Doubly honest? Once they changed I was disappointed in the dresses. I loved that the fox and rabbit were hand puppets before Marie made them human. So cute! I also loved that the carriage spun in a circle surrounded by layers of fog to create the illusion that it was traveling.
Acting– Singing –Choreography
I LOVED Tatyana Lubov as Cinderella. She had the right amount of sweetness, gentleness, kindness and spunk! I loved her voice and the imagery she created as she sang. I felt her emotions and dreamed with her!! I also liked Leslie Jackson as Marie (the character us traditionalists know as the Fairy Godmother) She had a physicality that made her character really come alive. Sadly, the rest of the cast was just ok. There were no stand outs. The play seemed to gain a certain energy when the ensemble began to sing, “The Prince is giving a ball.” and from that point on I did enjoy moments of the chorus singing. Although, I had a difficult time understanding the lyrics of the songs I wasn’t familiar with. The choreography was also lackluster. I enjoyed the lifts and ballet aspects, but the rest of it made me feel that the dresses got in the way of the choreography. It simply didn’t create the beautiful, artistic picture of a fairy tale.
“You’d be surprised how many beautiful dresses have crazy women in them.”
“Madame isn’t always terrible. Sometimes she sleeps.”
I was ready to love this play, but the beginning took me out of the story right away. The prince fights a dragon and some creature ( looking somewhat like a praying mantis) that none of us could figure out what it was!
At the end of the first act, Cinderella loses her glass slipper after the ball, but promptly runs back to get it. My friends and I spent intermission thinking that the cast was in the back trying to come up with ways to fix Cinderella’s horrible mistake! But then, there is another trip to the castle — yes, complete with more help from the Fairy Godmother and another beautiful gown — but not to fall in love, rather to push a local political agenda (with the help of her friendly stepsister) and then sort of fall in love anyway.
My interest had waned by this point, but now there was a segment about electing a new prime minister and Cinderella stops and leaves her slipper purposely on the steps. Thus, taking the magic of the fairy tale and making it modern and full of girl power and political agendas.
I’m a little sad at the way everything has to change. What’s wrong with a little bit of romance and fairy tales?
If you want to see Cinderella fall in love with Prince Charming this might not be the show for you. If instead, you adore the new revised women fighting for political change-go see this. It plays at the Cadillac Theater until May 6th.
Did you see this production? What do you think about the trend of revising fairy tales? I’d love to hear from you!
I have always loved volunteering. In fact, I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to help in as many areas as possible. I was a teacher’s aid in school. I was a candy striper during the summer while I was in high school. I helped out in VBS and Sunday School Classes as soon as I was old enough to do it. Then, think about it–the very nature of attending a church brings out the volunteer in you. You can work in the nursery, teach, help clean, pass out literature, join the music team and well, the list goes on.
So, when I discovered that this past week was National Volunteer’s Week that set me to thinking. Why do we volunteer? Do we expect to get anything out of it when we do?
Our country has always had a history of volunteerism.
In 1736, Benjamin Franklin created the first volunteer firehouse. Did you know that even today 70% of all firefighters are volunteers?
During war times people have always banded together. Some volunteered to join the military; others formed groups that raised funds or darned socks, made bandages, or whatever needed to be done. We’ve all heard of the “minute men” who were a volunteer militia.
Since then many volunteer organizations have been formed. The ones that come to the top of my mind are the YMCA, The Red Cross, United Way, Lion’s Club and the Peace Corps. There are hundreds of others.
I think it’s safe to say that how we volunteer changes as America’s needs change. In times of want we seem to know how to come together in a really inspiring way. I am reminded of pictures of the aftermath of 9-11. My brother-in-law, Roy Hervas, was part of a team from a fire department in Schaumburg, Illinois that immediately joined the efforts and went to New York to help the city. This happened all across our country. We do the same thing to communities that are hit by natural disasters. We donate money, food, time. It is one of the things that make America great.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“No one has ever become poor from giving.” Anne Frank
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
“A single act of kindness is like a drop of oil on a patch of dry skin–seeping, spreading, and affecting more than the original need.” Richelle E. Goodrich
“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” –Barack Obama
Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
Volunteering is a great way to meet people. If you are new in town, retired, lonely, looking for a change, volunteering will bring new people into your life. Bonus, many of these people will have the same interests that you do. I mean, after all, you volunteered for the same organization so you have those goals in common!
Volunteer work builds relationships. I know this one might sound a lot like the previous point, but it is much more. Many of my best friends are people who I’ve met through volunteering. When you work together towards a common goal there is a certain kinship that is formed. These relationships can turn into connections that can help you find jobs or a best friend. Many times these relationships are like a second family!
Volunteering helps you gain confidence. There is a certain confidence boost in trying something new and achieving success!
Volunteering can help you gain new skills. Interested in learning something new? Many organizations are willing to teach you skills to help you participate in the area of your interest. My son, Daniel, started volunteering at a very young age. Our technical director at that time, Rich Fuchs, spent many hours cultivating a love of all things technical in him. Daniel went on to apply that interest to his life and his career.
Volunteering helps you make a difference. You fill a real need when you volunteer. You make a difference in people and in turn help your community.
At this point you might be thinking….”I thought this blog was supposed to be ramblings about the theater….”
Well, I will be honest, Overshadowed couldn’t exist without volunteers. In fact, Overshadowed is ALL volunteer. Can you believe it? If I had to count the number of volunteer hours multiplied by the number of volunteers I couldn’t do it. I am so blown away by the generosity of all of them. And still, we need more. We are always looking for ushers, seamstresses, construction help, actors, artists, marketing help, technical workers and in short, more hands. We are so thankful for each of them. Every hour they spend is priceless. So today, this blog is for them. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for believing in the mission of Overshadowed enough to give something so irreplaceable ….your time. Thank you for this community, you have helped build this band of friends that is theater with a difference. Thank you for helping create and inspire. Please don’t forget or grow weary. You make a difference. Thank you!
Do you have any stories about volunteers or volunteering? Or a way a volunteer or volunteering has made a difference in your life? I’d love to hear about it!