BMAC back at you. This morning I drilled Telephone Hour until it was a well-oiled machine. Truly, it should be a showstopper, and I'll be darned if these young performers aren't up to the challenge. Afterward, our esteemed Technical Director, Riley, and partner in crime, Dan, led the campers on a backstage odyssey through the finer points of building, props and sundry other aspects of creating the physical space a show inhabits. This afternoon - being Friday - we had a game night (in the afternoon) wherein the campers competed against one another in various contests of skill, knowledge and luck. We are off-book Wednesday, which coincidentally also happens to be the date bios are due. Have a wonderful weekend!
Today I (BMAC) asked the camp to do something very difficult, and something most of us probably hardly ever do: nothing - absolutely nothing. Well, sort of. Through the use of a couple of exercises, I asked the campers to simply "be," to exist in a state of complete neutrality, and only react, never act. There is an anxiety that exists within us when we do not have something to "do," and our bodies and minds will lash out when forced to deactivate. Truly, to simply stand and see, without putting on a show, while others are watching, is tremendously awkward and counter-intuitive, but the ability to be completely present without motives or wants is an essential foundation for any performer to then begin layering on a character. That's the idea, at any rate.
In show-related news: we are done blocking! The entire show has been staged, and we are ready to start full run-thrus next week! Please enjoy the gallery below for inside glimpses of the campers doing my weird exercises, and also book work!
Today was a super productive day! We sang, danced, staged, wrote bios, and played a game that reinforced the idea of fluidity with lines. The kids split into groups depending on who was needed where, singing with Rick or doing staging on the big stage with Brian for the first bit of the day. It's a lot of hard work and concentration but everyone manages to have fun and learn from the process. We are very proud of the kids for their drive and willingness to stick with us while we make decisions, changes, and finalize the many bits that will make up the show. Meanwhile the set designers were busy measuring, creating, and beginning their process- something the kids are really excited to see and be a part of. Later there were solos and duets sung, dances were revisted, and the kids were charged with making bios that will go in the program. Reminder- bios are due by next Weds and everyone is to be off book by then as well. Great work everyone and keep practicing!
Hey folks! Time for your weekly check-in with counselor Shaun!
We had so much to do today, and we even did some activities that were new to some of the staff! We are to the point in rehearsals where sometimes we need to work with specific people and larger groups are left to some games and activities led by Connie, Dana, and me.
This morning, Dana helped us with an exercise that dealt with creating a realistic space for ourselves when performing onstage. After lunch, Brian led us through an exercise called Statues that helps us to use our bodies a bit more fully onstage. Then we were fortunate enough to have our costume designer Justin come in to help us design costumes ...out of items that would generally be regarded as trash! Have you ever seen a Queen Elsa wearing a fabulous trash bag? Check out the gallery below for pics from all of these activities.
Monday of Week Three began with a refocus on the campers as respectful team players and on the work needed to bring together a successful production. Today we met our designers for Bye Bye Birdie: Riley and Daniel.
The day started right off by breaking into groups with Rick teaching Large Group music #'s while Connie worked choreography to Lot of Livin' to Do and Brian ran staging in the big theater while the MacAfee family worked with Dana in the smaller theatre. After lunch Brian ran some theater exercises followed by technique workshops on Voice, projection, and spacial awareness with Dana and other games which introduced Daniel and Riley to the camp.
As promised here are the tongue twisters from today's workshop:
What a to-do to die today at a minute or two to two,a thing distinctly hard to say but harder still to do.We'll beat a tattoo, at twenty to twoa rat-tat-tah- tat-ta-tah- tat-tah-tattoo the dragon will come when he hears the drumat a minute or two to two today, at a minute or two to two
Betty Botter bought some butter."But," she said "this butter's bitter.If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter."So, she bought some better butter (better than the bitter butter) and made her bitter batter better.
Red leather, Yellow leather Unique New York Aluminum Lenolium
Rubber baby buggy bumpers
Round about the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran
The big black bug bit the big black bear and the big black bear bled blue black blood.
The tip of the tongue, the lips, the teeth, the gums.
In Hartford, Hereford and Hampsire Hurricanes hardly happen
She sells seashells by the seashore.The shells she sells are seashore shells, of that I’m sure.
Today we celebrated Xmas in July! Many festive festivities (documented below w/photos) made for a very merry afternoon, while this morning we dug deep to spit-shine polish most of the large group numbers including Honestly Sincere, Telephone Hour & Healthy Normal American Boy. I (Brian) truly put the campers through the ringer as they performed those songs, challenging them to give their absolute best, even if it isn't "in the spotlight" - I am pleased to report that they rose to the occasion, and they should be extremely proud of all their time, talent and effort thus far. Please do have a wonderful, restful and safe weekend!
Songs of the 50's and 60's start each day. Today we heard Mr. Sandman at our morning gathering before two competitive rounds of Musical chairs where the marching was done as called out character types and the music was all rock.
we then broke into Groups and continued to master the script and score of Bye Bye Birdie. Rick taught the music for both the "Kids" reprise and for "Healthy American Boy". Brian blocked the ice house scene and the scene leading into "One Boy" which Connie choreographed.
After lunch on the deck in 80 degree weather Small groups were put to work on the "Ed Sullivan" quartet and the "Happy Face" dance after which Brian conducted a posture, relaxation and vocal production workshop to get the campers in touch with their bodies and voices as powerful tools for the actor.
The day ended with an "actors' Choice " review of "Telephone Hour" and "Honestly Sincere" which ended the day with a lot of energy and satisfaction.
Camp today was BUSY BUSY BUSY! We are making amazing progress!
To start the day, Brian took us on a short tour of the building so we could check out our performing space and the dressing rooms we will be using.
,While our music director, Rick, worked with some of us, Brian taught us a game that helped us learn how to train our senses beyond sight. While blindfolded, and in the safety of a circle of campers, we searched for a coin. Hilarity ensued!
The afternoon was all about working on "Telephone Hour." We learned the music....now it's time to dance AND sing! Tomorrow? Another great big dance day! :D
Friday we will be celebrating Christmas in July. Make sure to wear your ugly sweater and come with a small (under $5.00) present for the white elephant gift exchange!
Hey folks! Time for your weekly check-in from Shaun! The rehearsal process is now well on its way--Rick has helped us out with learning "The Telephone Hour", and Brian and Connie have been hard at work staging and choreographing several other numbers. Our campers have a lot of material to learn! Dana and Elaine have been helping some actors with text and scene work during their downtime from staging. And me? I've been acting as a rehearsal stage manager--writing it all down.
Below are some rehearsal pictures!
Our costume designer, Justin, was also able to come in for a few hours today to help us out with a costume workshop. He taught us all how to take costume measurements, and here are a few pictures from that adventure:
It is always so exciting to really begin a show, to dig in and start learning music and choreography, blocking and exploring your character. It is also a daunting thought, that in four short weeks will we have a show worthy of an audience. But we press on, hopefully and enthusiastic, that we will do everything that needs done and then some- giving these kids an experience to remember and skills to carry them into their next project.
We began with a fun focus warm up called Big Booty, a game whose name always brings a smile. It requires a great deal of focus and is a challenge to get the hang of it the first time playing. Then, we dug into the show!
In the morning the majority of the kids learned the blocking and semi-choreography of, "Gotta Be Sincere", a fun song that requires some physicality. After lunch everyone sang "Telephone Hour" with Rick, who has an immense amount of patience teaching all the ins and outs of this multi-tiered song! And we ended the day with adding some finishing touches on "Gotta Be Sincere", which hopefully everyone will practice tonight along with practicing their fainting techniques.
Tomorrow is a new day folks and we are all so excited to continue the learning and growing!!