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Friday, December 18, 2009

Loud Pills and Ad-Libbing

Please forgive still more posting about showcase, but really--it's pretty much all we've been doing. Sure, there's been a dash of addition, a pinch of writing, and a handful of geometric shapes, but mostly it's been rehearsal after rehearsal this week. The school performance last week was better than I had expected. I did not, in fact, have to toss a rubber chicken on stage and pretend the whole thing was supposed to be avant garde, as the random spouting of lines during rehearsals had caused me to fear.
  One thing I did not fear, but apparently should have, was that when one of the actors failed to cross to stage right at the correct time to deliver a line, Michael would loud-whisper, "Get your butt up here!" In front of an audience. We had a chat after that.
  This week, we had plenty of rehearsal time to polish the performance into a well-oiled machine sans "butt." We even delved into the finer points of acting technique. When Sabrina messed up the exact wording of her line but still kept the essence of the line in tact, I introduced her to the concept of ad-libbing. If you don't remember the line exactly, you can make up some stuff that's pretty close and fits with the plot. Sure enough, the next time through her scene, Sabrina showed off just how well she had taken that message of on-the-spot improvisation. In fact, her "ad-libbing" of the line was rather premeditated. She tried out several versions of the line in subsequent rehearsals, each slightly different than the last. "We sure need an airfoil!" "Yes--an airfoil is definitely what we need right now." "We certainly could use an airfoil." She even asked to add in a new line later in the play that she felt her character would say.
  Another development this week was the introduction of loud pills. After some barely audible lines, we had a sudden burst of projected voices. Wanting to continue this trend so the play could actually be heard and its corniness fully appreciated, I promptly prescribed and dispensed some loud pills. Despite their invisibility as I doled them out one by one to each actor, they very much worked. The play last night was the best it had ever been! The lines were remembered, they were delivered with feeling, the loud pills kicked in, and even the temperamental balloon jet prop worked without a hitch! And now...I definitely don't have to hear anything about an airfoil. An airfoil is certainly what I won't be hearing about. Better yet....it's winter break! Just in time for a supposedly major blizzard hitting DC the first day of vacation. Is it too much to ask for these multiple feet of snow to happen on a school day??

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