Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ten Reasons to Do Community Theater

This will undoubtedly go down as one of my most cherished memories with my family.  With the exception of Peter, who did actually attend many rehearsals, we were all a part of The Wizard of Oz play with Bluffdale City Arts.
As much as I enjoy it, I am no expert on any kind of theater.  Besides this play, the last one we did as a family was Beauty and the Beast NINE years ago.  However, Wizard was such a good experience that I've come up with ten reasons why community theater rocks!
1.  Developing talents.
When I was at BYU I took a drama class.  As part of the class I auditioned for the play, I Never Saw Another Butterfly.  They asked for a Russian accent.  I made a complete idiot of myself because it is hard to put on an accent on the spot that you cannot recall what it should sound like.  Needless to say, I was not cast for that play.  Or any play since then.  Actually, I've never had a speaking part in a play other than a ward roadshow, which doesn't really count.  Back in December I gathered up my peeps and we headed to auditions.  Abe was working, but I signed him up as well.  He loves it when I do stuff like that!  I auditioned thinking, "Oh, I'm an ensemble member all the way!"  You can imagine my surprise when the director emailed Abe and I to come read for Uncle Henry and Aunt Em.
 And here we are!  Honestly, it was quite scary at first for us.   Compared to the leads we did not have a lot of lines, but for us it seemed like a lot!  It was hard to memorize.  It did get easier as the dress rehearsals went on and by the time we opened, we were having a grand time.  Next time--hopefully there will be a next time-- it won't be so frightening.  I'm 37 years old and I spend a lot of energy helping my children develop their talents.  I must admit, it was quite refreshing for me to spend a few weeks working on one of my own.
2.  Making new friends.
This is a biggie.  We met some really, really nice families that I hope to cross paths with again.  During dress rehearsals and performances, the cast of almost 200 hung out in the gym at the middle school.  It was a great setting for the kids to have room to run around and play, while adults and teens chatted or played games.   
Elinor and a few of the girls from the Girls Chorus used the Dalmuti cards to make up a story telling game.
Clark with the teens in between performances on Saturday.
 3.  Fostering Confidence
To sing and dance in front of people can be daunting-- whether you are four years old or 40 years old.  When you are a part of a play like this, and everybody is being brave, it is easier.  George was the loudest, and in our opinion, most exuberant Lollipop Guild boy.  So, so cute.  He's probably going to question us later in life about his costume, but I think you must agree, it is adorable.
Cannon was a City Father in Munchkin Land.
When the Wicked Witch appears in Munchkin Land.  What good little actors they are!
4. Strengthening family bonds
Our director was wonderful and very supportive of families being in the play together.  Thursday evenings were our Emerald City rehearsals and Faith and Cannon joined Abe and I as a family group in the Emerald City.  We really enjoyed our time with just these two "middle children".  
Bethany and Elinor had Friday evening Spooks and Girls Chorus rehearsals together.  It was an intense few weeks, especially the last couple, but we were doing so much of it together, that I didn't feel like it detracted from our family life, rather it added to it.
Clark jumped in the week of dress rehearsals to help with sound in the tech booth and this...
During the tornado scene, he carried Bethany on his shoulders so it looked like a witch was flying.
Clark and Bethany are very anxious to audition for Guys and Dolls this summer in the 14 and up production.
5.  Having a lot of fun.
That's it.  It's just really fun.  The music is fun.  The costumes are fun.  The dancing is fun.  Being a part of something with so many other people is fun.  Performing for your family and friends is fun.
Bethany and Elinor were dancing spooks in the haunted forest.
"Ding-dong, the Wicked Witch is Dead!"  It is really a rather morbid song, but Faith sure had fun  singing it!
 6.  Teaching responsibility
I counted that for just our family alone we had 17 different costume changes!  This means, that except for the smallest people, everyone needed to be responsible for their own costume pieces.  Put it where it belongs and keep all your parts together.
Faith got to be a poppy.  I almost typed poopy.  Poppy is much better than poopy.  Sorry.
In ninth grade my band teacher taught me, "To be early is to be on time.  To be on time is to be late.  To be late is to be really late."
In our family we've changed the last line to say, "To be late is to be SHAMEFUL!"
It may be a little harsh, but it is rather important to be where you're supposed to be and be ready to go when it's your time to perform or practice.
 There were a lot of rehearsals to get to and I appreciated my people being very cooperative and getting ready to go on time.
 7.  Practicing patience
 With such a large cast of outgoing, bubbly personalities, we could quickly become an unwieldy group.  It took a fair amount of patience at times to work out kinks and disseminate information to the group.  It was community, rather than professional theater, so we all had to be patient as everyone did the best they could and we all learned together.
8. Learning to Follow Directions and Stand Out
It's the perfect setting to humbly follow directions while at the same time, standing out as an individual and doing things your way.
Cannon's face. 
 9.  Keeping Life Exciting
Life is pretty exciting as it is.  You'd think I wouldn't crave any more excitement that naturally occurs in a family of nine.  But this experience was an out of the ordinary kind of exciting.  It was so far outside of my normal activities and as much as I usually enjoy steady routine with my family, it was so rejunvenating to do something totally different.
I cannot heap enough praise on the leads for the show.  Dorothy was a fifteen year old with more poise, confidence, and talent than I've ever seen before.  And she could not be any cuter.  The men were charming and so fun to rehearse with. 
10.  Experiencing gratitude
This amazing lady is Laura Garner-- the director and visionary behind the Bluffdale Arts Advisory Board.  She has been voluntarily directing plays in the community for over 25 years.  She is inspiring and fun and talented.  We are grateful to her and the many others who volunteer and work for so many hours to make an experience like this possible. I painted some hats, but that's nothing compared with the hours others put in.  She brings out the best in so many people in so many ways!     

1 comment:

Amy F. said...

Wow, I can see why you loved this so much! The costumes are amazing, your family is amazing! What a wonderful experience and memory you've made!!