So currently I’m stage managing a docu-drama (that’s just a fancy word that means a play about something that actually happened) about the Civil War, and I decided that while sitting in this music rehearsal, I could take some time to write my first blog of the summer!
Most of the work I do in theatre is as a stage manager. “What is a stage manager?” you ask. Well, I shall tell you. The stage manager is the person who makes sure the actors, designers, director and anyone else involved with a production knows what is going on at all times…basically. From before auditions until the last set piece has been put away, the stage manager works to make sure everything that needs to happen happens.
A lot of people don’t realize this…but…because the stage manager is the person who works so closely with the entire production team, she/he gets sort of the “inside scoop” on how everything works and where the designers’ ideas come from! See, designers and directors when they start a play are given a script…and that’s pretty much it. After reading it (or even while reading it), they have to figure out how to make a wicked witch melt onstage, a huge plant from another planet eat a person, or even how to make the petals of an enchanted rose fall one at a time (any of those sound familiar?)
Imagine designing a show by yourself! Think of your favorite movie or story (one that isn’t already a play!) and coming up with ideas about how it could look onstage. Are there are a lot of people in the story? Are there effects you could create with lights or sound effects?
This summer I want the Center Stage camp to tell me if they’ve got an idea of how to put Beauty and the Beast onstage. I’ve got ideas, and I know Alex has ideas, but theatre is all about COLLABORATION. And who knows, your idea could be even better than what was originally planned!
I’m amazingly excited for this summer, and I sure hope you are too!
THEATRE CAMP STAFF QUIZ:
Why TrueNorth Summer Theatre? I have had the privilege to do 5 shows at True North in the past year! Each one has been totally unique and equally awesome. The True North theatre community is a wonderful one, embracing anyone who wants to join! I’ve had some great times in this place, and I can only imagine that the Summer Crew is just as cool if not moreso!
NYC or LA? Confession: I’ve never been to the West Coast. Ever. So maybe I’m biased…but I have a feeling that even if I had, I would still choose New York! So NYC totally is my answer.
What is your favorite thing to do with friends? I got to go camping this past weekend, and that was ah-mahzing. Didn’t take nearly enough pictures though, and that kind of bums me out.
What is something you've learned from theatre that you use in real life? During Tech week getting really close to opening a show, there tends to be a lot of tension and nervousness because everyone wants the show to be the best it can be. The best advice for that week is to just keep moving ahead, not letting yourself get bogged down with stress. No matter what the show will go up. And it will be wonderful. And no matter what is going on in your life, it will pass or it will get better. Sometimes you just have to push ahead and keep working toward a goal. That’s my attempt at being inspirational. Ha!
What is the grossest thing you can think of? I hate when people spit… Bleh! SO gross!
What's your favorite musical? My first True North show was The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and that was such an awesome production…pretty sure that wins!
Gale or Peeta? PEETA!!! Forever!!!!
Here's another video from Alex for all you Beauty & the Beast (and backstage) fanatics! (If the video doesn't show up below, check out this link.
Chelsea Lewis: Acting Assistant this summer
So I am currently sitting on my front porch listening to music writing this, and cannot stop thinking about how beautiful of weather we are having right now!! It makes me SO excited to work outside at our theatre camp :) It is absolutely beautiful around our building, so it will be a gorgeous view pretty much all the time.
I am waiting to pick up my friend Megan at the airport. She just spent the last month studying in China...seriously, she was in CHINA!!! She has already told us how amazing of a time she has been having, and there was one aspect that she especially loved. Because she was in a very strange place that is so different from us, she had to cling to people that were in her study group. She said that she ended up making very close friendships with these people, even though she did not know them before they went.
Everything that my friend experienced reminded me of what we're about to do during camp. We are going to be with a whole new group of people, some that will be very different from us. We will have so many opportunities to meet new faces and learn what everyone has to offer to the theatre world. Who knows, you might even get to make some new best friends :)
It is really important that we all work together and bond this summer. It will make theatre camp SO MUCH FUN!!! I absolutely love making friends and working with others. By the end of the camp, we will learn so many great things about theatre and people!
So, I have a challenge for all of our future stars: I think everyone should try to make at least two new friends during their camp. Try to talk to someone you've never met before... you could end up finding someone who likes the same things that you do! And it will make camp about 100 times more fun... if that is even possible :)
SUMMER CAMP STAFF QUIZ:
Why TrueNorth Summer Theatre?There are so many awesome theatre skills to learn! You get everything from acting and using your imagination, to dancing and singing your heart out, to even learning what happens backstage. And it is really great that you get to go onstage and show the world everything you have learned. It makes you feel like you have really accomplished a lot!
NYC or LA?Hmmm... sadly, I have not been to either, but I HAVE TO HAVE snow around Christmas time, so I think I would like NYC more.
What is your favorite thing to do with friends?Just sit around and enjoy each others company. It is the best feeling when you can relax from your busy day with people that care the most for you :)
What is something you've learned from theatre that you use in real life? Well, I think I have gotten really used to talking and being in front of other people. Also, I think I have learned to just be comfortable with myself and to not be afraid to do something silly and laugh at myself after!
What is the grossest thing you can think of?Eating a spider, or licking a sweaty foot. ewww!!!
What's your favorite musical? (You can only pick ONE!)Ah! Ummm, I think I will have to go with "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." The soundtrack ALWAYS puts me in a good mood!
Gale or Peeta? I don't know who either are, but I will always choose crunchy peanut butter over creamy :)
We have a lot planned this summer to teach various aspects of COSTUME DESIGN! Here's a post from Jordan Malin, Summer Theatre's costume designer: (To learn more about Jordan and the rest of the Theatre Camp Staff check out our bios on the staff page!)
This year's weather has certainly been unpredictable. I'm not sure about you guys, but I have not been able to fully commit to packing away all my fall/winter clothes and fully indulge in the summer wear. Thankfully, the key to fashion is comfort and individuality. So.... why not wear those shorts with a Christmas sweater and flip flops? After all, if one of the Kardashians does it, suddenly it will be accepted, right???? Besides, being the theatre/dance/artists we all are, 80% of our time is spent in costumes, dance-wear or sweats..... So while you can, be creative and express yourself!
For the past few months I have had the privilege of working for the Karamu House in downtown Cleveland. The mission of the Karamu House is the strengthen the community through a variety of arts programs with an emphasis on the African American Culture. Basically, it is just like any other Theatre Arts Organization, but they add historical content to performances, to cultural related shows, celebrate past contributors, or do something as simply as adding African drums, costumes and music to a well known story. Simple and creative ways to effectively teach, be artistic and stay relevant.
My point to both of these topics is, don't be afraid to think outside the box! Be inspired by others, but don't be defined. Bring your thoughts and ideas to life. Here are two fun exercises you can try if you're feeling artsy and creative.
1. Use your favorite art materials, paints, markers, crayons, pastels...etc. Take a plain white piece of paper or canvas. Without using any words, numbers or symbols express who you are through a colorful design you create. Feel it through the colors you use, the textures, the shapes. Think of things that you love, things that make you sad, things you dream about, things you would to change...all things that trigger emotions.
Be free, passionate and celebrate yourself!
2. The second exercise is all about "thinking outside the box." Think of any really well known story, movie or play. Keep the story exactly the same, but change either the setting, time period, or costumes. If you want to draw the costumes and characters, awesome! Same with the houses or set design. If you are more comfortable writing your idea out, go for it! Be creative and make sure it doesn't change the story at all. For example, who says Cinderella can't be dressed in all 80's clothes, or do we really know where Little Miss Muffet was sitting when the spider scared her away? A playground? A disco? The possibilities are endless!
Good luck and see you all soon!
SUMMER CAMP STAFF QUIZ
Why TrueNorth Summer Theatre? First off, TrueNorth in general is a dream for me because it is a theatre and a nature preserve!!! I love, love animals and the arts! Second, this staff is so hip and "now". It's so important to learn the basics and history of theatre, which you will, but theatre is changing and this staff is young, professional, experienced and current. I look forward to learning from them too!
NYC or LA? I've only been to LA once.... And my friends and family are in NYC, sooo.. NYC.
What is your favorite thing to do with friends? Games nights! Lots of board games at someone's house and comfy clothes.
What is something you've learned from theatre that you use in real life? Singing and dancing cures all.
What is the grossest thing you can think of? Hatred
What's your favorite musical? Gypsy! Whenever I need inspiration, I YouTube Bernadette Peter's performance of Rose's Turn. Love!
Gale or Peeta? I don't know the Hunger Games :( But based on Google images I think that Gale is cuter!
(FUN TIP: The 30 actors in the current Networks touring production of Beauty & the Beast wear over 850 costume pieces and 80 wigs! Check out this backstage tour with the director- Rob Roth.)
Hey guys! The entire summer camp staff is going to be blogging from here on out. (We thought 10 people were more interesting than just me!) To meet all of the staff members visit the THEATRE CAMP STAFF page. Here is Anne Chriszt on the power of imagination:
Well Summer is almost here! I am so excited to be at TrueNorth this summer working with all the kids! I know that we will have an AMAZING time!
I have always loved working with kids. What I find so remarkable is their power of imagination. I nanny for two girls (Lizzy, age 5 and Aley, age 3- SHOUTOUT) and playing pretend with them is quite an experience. The ideas they come up with are mind blowing. One of our favorite games to play is "The Witch Game". I play the witch, Lizzy plays the princess and Aley plays the baby princess. As the witch I am constantly trying to kidnap the baby princess. It is different every time because the girls come up with millions of different scenarios. Sometimes I do kidnap the baby princess but Lizzy is always there with distractions such as distracting me by enticing me with a magic ball or putting a sleeping curse on me. My favorite is scenario of all time was when Lizzy told me in order to get to the baby princess I had to go through the Forest of Mystery, then battle crocodiles in the cursed lake, then fight my way through the Blizzardy Mountains completely in her own words. I was blown away. I think she definitely has a future as a director/playwright.
I think that theater is an opportunity for kids to spend hours playing pretend. If you really think about it, theater at its most basic level is playing dress up. You put on a costume, come up with a scenario and see what happens. Allowing kids to get involved with theater gives them the opportunity to let their mind go and be as creative as they can. And when you let kids go, it is amazing what they will come up with. I am so excited to see what our kids will come up with during camp this year!
SUMMER CAMP STAFF QUIZ
Why TrueNorth Summer Theatre? I am so excited to be working at TrueNorth Summer Theater this year because there is so much variety! Instead of just working one camp all summer, I get to work three very different camps with all age groups.
NYC or LA? NYC because of, well............ BROADWAY!!!!!!
What is your favorite thing to do with friends? My absolute favorite thing I do with my friends is Beach Days. We all gather at the beach (Huntington, Edgewater, even Sandusky) and play in the water and make sand castles and then have a cookout or bonfire. It is WONDERFUL.
What is something you've learned from theatre that you use in real life? To put 100% into everything you do. When I go out onstage, I am putting all of my energy into what I am doing and am completely immersed in my character. I've learned to take that attitude into everything that I do.
What is the grossest thing you can think of? Throw up, hands down. Throwing up is the grossest most disgusting and horrible thing EVER
What's your favorite musical? (You can only pick ONE!) My all time favorite musical is Phantom of the Opera. It is the first musical I ever listened to (at 4 years old) and I just absolutely love it. I had to the opportunity to see a production of it in London in its original theater and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.
Gale or Peeta? TEAM PEETA!!!!! Seriously, I wish Peeta was a real person.
You guys- The future is definitely here. Like Inspector Gadget, I can video chat with anyone at anytime. We've all turned into 007s with computers in our pocket at all times. Next step is that flying car. We'll be the Jetsons in no time! (Did you hear about the flying car? Oh yea- it's real! www.terrafugia.com/)
Last month, the car-plane flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes. (Commercial jets fly at 35,000 feet.) Around 100 people have already put down a $10,000 deposit to get a flying car when they go on sale, but don't expect it to show up in too many driveways. It's expected to cost $279,000. And it won't help if you're stuck in traffic. The car needs a runway.
The power of Face Book, Twitters, IPhones, YouTube, Google, and all of the other coolness that is 2012, have literally changed the world, making it INSTANT. The thespian troupe at Amherst Steele just performed ALICE. It was a new musical version of Alice in Wonderland (remember last year's Alice in Wonderland? :)) and it was performed the same weekend ALL OVER THE WORLD. Each high school version was taped and streamed LIVE on the internet for the world to see. Talk about instant musical theatre.
The point is EVERYTHING is instant, so why shouldn't summer camp?
The blog will be expanding! Coming up ALL of the summer camp staff will be blogging and updating our pages! If you think I'm fun, wait until you meet the other staff members! We promise to keep it fun, informative, and educational, so keep checking back!
Registration is filling up and the staff for this summer has already been planning away. We're getting ready for one fierce summer!
Thanks for reading.
SUMMER CAMP STAFF QUIZ:
Why TrueNorth Summer Theatre?I love that there are 3 separate camps for the age groups. It allows us to focus on the students of that specific camp and teach directly to their skill levels. (I'm also extremely pumped for Spy Camp & Beauty and the Beast!!!!)
NYC or LA? I lived in NYC for five years. It's wonderful, and expensive, and wonderful. I want to check out LA but if I had to pick between the two- NYC for life.
What is your favorite thing to do with friends? EAT! Well... cook then eat!
What is something you've learned from theatre that you use in real life? I think it was one of my dance teachers that yelled at me for cringing while stretching one day that suck with me. I've become so disciplined from dance and it's taught me to walk with my head high and face whatever comes at me without cringing.
What is the grossest thing you can think of? Boogers. On food.
What's your favorite musical? (You can only pick ONE!) West Side Story.
Gale or Peeta? Honestly? Prim.