Thursday, February 17, 2011

All the world's a stage

The year's barely begun and already I sense it will be unlike any other. As it is, it's been one nearly non-stop slog albeit with a CNY break in between. But most days are long and draggy, many evenings filled with one rehearsal or another, and I'm tired.

It's a self-inflicted pain, however. The NYeDC kids are running full tilt, volunteering at any opportunity they hear about, and when they volunteer, we staff volunteer right along with them. And they're not done yet. I'm looking at the list of upcoming events culminating in Drama Night with dread anticipation. So many things they have planned, so much energy and ambition, so organized and presenting better thought-out proposals than I've ever seen before, and for once my first instinct isn't 'no, we can't do that...'. Rather, it's the opposite: 'Yes! Go! Do!' even though their plans will take me through activities that require more work than this lazybone slacker is used to.

With all this going on, my attention today was on the piano kids and their Full Dress Rehearsal of this Friday's piano concert. This is me volunteering as drama coach for the simple reason that they could really use one. It's also this group that's been filling up my evenings so far. This group has been terrific to work with. They know they can't act their way out of a paper bag, being convinced their talent is only in music, but they've put in so much time and effort into preparing for this concert they were desperate enough to accept my direction without question.

It was an interesting experience to take these kids out of their comfort zone and watch them develop the show to the level I was watching today. There were lots of compromises between what they were comfortable doing and what I could get them to do. Given time I believe I could have pushed them further, but they've done well, nevertheless, to present 'P.S. I love you', a piano concert packaged within an adaptation of Romeo & Juliet.

The important thing is that they now agree with me that acting isn't so much a natural-born talent but a trained skill. They surprised me today with some voiceover improvisations during the rehearsal, so yes, I do believe the piano kids are becoming quite comfortable as actors too. It's a step forward for them as a performing group. For me, it was an opportunity to provide another bunch of kids with a form of theatrical experience to broaden market interest and the talent pool in campus aesthetics. In other words, just doin' my job, ma'am.

As the next few weeks progress, that job scope is looking to increase significantly as other deadlines approach. Yes, it's going to be an interesting year.

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