Twenty seven 2nd Graders from Provost Elementary School are signed up to participate in an enrichment drama class culminating in a performance of "Momotaro - a Tale of Bravery." I met them for the first time on Monday. The trouble is that I only get to work with them for 30 minutes four times a week for the next couple of months.
The first order of business is to get acquainted with them. I need to learn their names and faces very quickly and see what they can do. Usually I start by teaching songs from the show and do some acting games and movement exercises to determine how to cast the parts. It takes a little while to accomplish that, and the children are impatient to know their parts right away. Hopefully I can finesse my way around that hurdle and keep them interested while I make some assessments. It just does not work to simply look at the names on the roll and try to cast all of the parts! (Although I did try that this afternoon.)
The students were introduced to two songs today. So far so good. They seem to be willing to sing. They are not yet readers, so handing out song sheets is not a very good idea. But they seem to be quick aural learners. With just a few times through the songs, they were singing the tunes and doing some of the actions. Words will come along better the more they get used to singing them.
This process is quite interesting for me. I get to see the play I imagined come to life in a completely new way with each production. These children will add a new dimension to the story and fill out the characters with their own inventions. This will be the 4th time I have been privileged to direct and produce "Momotaro - A Tale of Bravery." The first time was when my youngest son was just 6 years old. Now he's all grown up. My how time flies! With each new production, the children surprise me with their unique interpretations. It is simply amazing.
Have I mentioned how much I love live theater?