These First and Second graders gave a darling premiere performance of "The Ants and the Grasshopper." They donned their little costumes and used their props, sang their songs, danced their dances, and delivered their lines before an appreciative audience of family and friends.
Because this was an "in class" recital, we asked the audience to imagine the backgrounds and sets (particularly the Ant Hill that was just a screen). The children did not have to worry about problems that come with using a stage - lights, sound, microphones, or curtains. They just performed to their best abilities. They stole the hearts of their audience.
In the end, the Grasshopper recommended to the audience that he had learned his lesson. Instead of always loafing and singing and dancing during the summer, he was going to make time to store up food for the winter. He learned that it truly is better to "Pay now and play later." The Finale song was catchy enough that the whole audience joined in singing the reprise. What a fun show! Kudos to the Kids!
Introducing the newest Mini-Musical from Bailey Kids Musicals. "The Ants and the Grasshopper" will be available soon.
This little musical came about in a burst of inspiration brought on by some desperation. One of the Theater Skills classes I began teaching this Fall had eight First and Second Graders - 7 girls and 1 boy. I was planning to just let them learn skills by working with Acting Games, short skits and songs, but it soon became clear that they needed a story that would catch their fancy in oder to develop acting skills.
I quickly searched through many materials and decided that I just needed to write them a show. Obviously, I needed to tailor the parts to the personalities I had. The boy had a great voice and could move. It made sense to cast him as the Grasshopper and give him some "Gene Kelly savoir-fare." The girls needed clearly defined traits in order to bring their characters to life. So, I gave each Ant one main emotional character trait such as "Effie, Miss Efficiency," and "Winnie, the Whiner."
When working with 6-7 year olds just one hour per week, there are certain things you just plan for. They will not remember directions from week to week, so you drill, drill, drill all of the LINES and BLOCKING. They tend to be shy and speak with small voices. So, you drill, drill, drill about PROJECTING the voice. They like COSTUMES, so you'd better have them! Costumes really help both the children and the audience imagine the characters and bring them to life. CATCHY SONGS are very important to a children's show. The songs are the loudest, brightest, and most unified part of the production. Better make them the best they can be. The songs must carry the setting, emotions, and message of the tale. The audience should be able to go out singing the songs with the kids on the way home. (That's when you know you've done your job as a author and director.)
The message of "The Ants and the Grasshopper' is taken from a quote by John Maxwell. He said, "Play now and pay later, or pay now and play later. Either way you'll have to pay." Works perfectly for this wonderful Aesop Fable. Here it is in the Finale song.
My name is Betsy Bailey. I have sung, written and taught music all of my life. I enjoy writing and directing Children's Theater shows. This blog will be directed to topics on creating the magic of Children's Theater. I would love to hear your comments!