Today is audition day for the middle/high schooler homeschool drama program. I finished a roughdraft of the script a couple weeks ago. After Kim and I figure out who we're casting where, I'll be spending the rest of the week revising the script to fit the actors I have. Adding roles, if necessary. Adjusting personalities in roles. Expanding or reducing the size of some parts. That kind of thing. It's the hard way to do it, I suppose, but it's the only way I know of to do it right.
One of my personal goals for this drama program is that every student come away from the production having had a good experience. They may not have a starring role (most don't), they may decide that drama isn't for them (some have), but they can at least look back on the show they were in and say, "Yeah, that was fun. I was on stage in front of all those people and it was fun."
That means tailoring the script to fit the actors I have so that they get a role that fits them -- rather than requiring inexperienced, immature actors to fit themselves to a role. As much as possible, I want every kid to have a moment in the spotlight . . . a funny line that everyone laughs at, a poignant moment that everyone remembers, a quirky look or gesture that makes them stand out.
My first year with the younger kids, I had two girls in the program who wouldn't speak at the auditions. I was kind of puzzled what to do with them. In the end, they were servants in the castle, but I gave them a few funny bits. Like . . when one character was giving a short speech of instructions to someone, they flanked him on each side and acted out the instructions with flight-attendant-like gestures. Their moment in the spotlight.
This is my second play with the older kids, so I already know quite a few of them. That's an advantage and a disadvantage. Disadvantage is, as I've been writing, I'm already picturing a few of the kids in certain roles. That's a problem because I may not look at everyone as objectively as I should then. And it's also possible that in the audition, they won't live up to the performance they gave in my mind. That happened in the fall with the younger kids.
But, I'm excited about the audition. This is SUCH a good group of kids! Friendly, respectful, hard-working. Not perfect . . . there are some boys with some excess energy issues. But I can see myself working with the homeschool kids long after my own girls are out of that category. They're just a wonderful group! Evidence again of how far people miss the mark when they assume homeschoolers are lacking in "social skills".