I haven't blogged in over a week (if you haven't noticed this, no offense taken . . . I suppose). I've been helping direct a two-week drama camp at Crystal Sea Drama Company. A traditional melodrama, with olios, a curtain raiser, and lot of costume changes. I haven't had much else to think about for the past two weeks, so this morning you get:
THOUGHTS ON DRAMA CAMP
- I was never taught how to direct; I just figured it out as I went. This week, I got to watch two directors at work and learn from them. Mrs. Miller, the theater's artistic director, is a stickler for detail, authenticity, and consistency – three of my weak areas. And she brought in a friend one evening to help the students with their melodramatic flair – I loved watching her help the actors think through their motivations and subtext and all. I will be a better director after having observed these two ladies at work.
- For the evening's "curtain raiser", we adapted the first play I wrote for the homeschool drama group in Sioux City: "The King and His Dancing Princesses." Now, that production had twenty-four actors, almost all newbies to the stage. For this production, we had six (after one girl got sick and had to drop out). SIX. I learned flexibility and adaptation this week. You wouldn't believe what these six kiddos are pulling off.
- I have a new appreciation for "techies". I've never really had techies before – I mean, I've had people willing to create some basic sets, find props and costumes . . . but a theater "techie" is a breed to themselves. There is a lovely young lady interning at CSDC this year; Mrs. Miller and I gave her a yard-long list of things to do to prepare for this show (everything from "take the sticker off the bottom of the cracker box" to "paint thirty signs for the sign girl" to "build five portable headboards"). She showed up every day and worked all day, systematically ticking off the items on the list – and did so with a smile and great enthusiasm for her work. What a gal.
- I'm so grateful to have this place for my own daughter to nurture her passions and talents. Last year at this time, she was doing the Shakespeare drama camp, her first introduction to CSDC, and she was nervous, shy, and not quite feeling like she fit in yet. This year, she's confident, loud, and right in the center of it all. Love seeing that.
If you're in San Antonio, swing by CSDC this weekend for Drama and Dessert. Eat some triple chocolate cake, take pictures in the photo booth, throw popcorn at the villains with their handlebar mustaches, and giggle at my silly princesses. You'll be amazed at what a bunch of dedicated kids (and two frazzled directors) can pull together in two weeks.