Posts Tagged ‘Different Style’
In November I received a note from a mom worried about some of the experiences her teenage daughter was having at rehearsals for a show she was in. This was my response, beginning appropriately enough I think with an apology for taking so long in getting back to her!
First, I would like to apologize for having taken so long to get back to you again. Things here have taken on a whirlwind pace, and though I am very thankful for that, I do feel bad about neglecting you for so long!
I imagine that the show went very well and that you and your child were happy with the experience after it was all over. The magic that happens when that curtain goes up can soothe a lot of hard feelings brought on by personality differences and stress from the long hours of rehearsal with a director that it sounds like has a very different style of working with the children than you and your child would have been comfortable with.
And yes, I think it is not excusable to forget this: these are actors, but first and most importantly they are children. My personal opinion is that as we are working with children, everything we do with them must be of benefit to them. Why else should a child be involved? At this time in their lives we owe it to them to make sure that every experience they have will encourage growth, be it growth of their cognitive, social or emotional selves, and that there is no excuse for “guilting” a child into participation.
Many times I think that we in the theatre are seen as unpredictable and outrageous, and that excuses are made for unpleasant or irresponsible behavior from directors or actors as being due to the “artistic temperament.” I do not agree with this concession; espeically in our work with children I feel that theatre expereinces are such excellent vehicles for teaching the joy of working collarboratively, the important skills of connecting with other humans, of really listening to and communicating with one another, that it is to me inexcusable to forget to pay attention to these things in a flurry of adult egos and control issues and the stress of getting a show up.
And yes, I feel it is important to remember that children must have enough rest, and must have enough time to just be kids. In the last few weeks of rehearsal this is a huge challenge, and everyone is often so exhausted by the time the show is over that if one is not careful illness and emotional upsets can be quite common. So I think it is important to oay attention to how much we ask of them. To make sure that they are not kept too late at rehearsals in the evenings. I like to schedule the longer rehearsals for weekend afternoons if possible; it can be time for catching up with all the cast members, little ones can attend without being exhausted the next day or having bedtime routines disrupted.
But it is all a juggling act. It is a challenge to keep things healthy for young people while working on such an intense project, there is no getting around that! But yes, I think there are ways to safeguard the emotional and physical well being of the kids while creating something wonderful for the stage.
I hope I have answered some of your questions, and perhaps offered you some ideas for what you might look for in future acting projects for your daughter. Please feel free to write again if you have further question or if I can be of service to you in any other way.
Please take care, and best of everything to you and your family!
Director, Center Stage Youth Theatre