My latest project has been an after-school Theater Skills Club at a local Elementary School. This class was a new option offered to kids who usually stay after school because they need a place to stay until their parents come home from work. This school offers many classes for the children to choose from including cooking, art, music lessons on violin or piano, recreational sports, building with Legos, or help with homework. Adding a Drama Class was new to the rotation. So, we did not know how many children to expect. I was told only that there could be between 10-20 1st-4th graders signing up. I also needed to pick a play that could be FLEXIBLE enough to work for a group of that size and be mounted in just 10 hours of rehearsal time (including a performance) over the space of 10 weeks.
Obviously, I needed a small show since I would need to teach other rudimentary skills to these few children. I decided to try out one of my new Mini-Musicals. I chose "The Tale of the Musicians of Bremen" because it could be done with a FLEXIBLE cast. That turned out to be a good decision because we ended up with just 3 boys and 8 girls. Having three boys was just enough to cast the Farmer, the Rooster, and one of the Robbers who were definitely Male characters. The other characters could be either gender. Most of these children are very young with no experience in acting, singing or dancing. So, everything was new for them. They have been working hard and will be performing their show in a couple of weeks. The biggest problem has been that they could only practice once a week, so they have had six days to forget all they worked on in the last rehearsal. Excitement is mounting, though. We have tried on the costumes and will soon get to work on the stage with the sets and props and lights and mics. I just hope that they can remember all of their parts without prompting when the performance comes!
This little Min-Musical will be presented as just the first part of an evening of Musical Theater. Twenty-six of the 2nd Graders in the school have been working on a production of their own. They are doing "The Tale of Chicken Licken." Together, these two shows should add up to a fun hour of entertainment for the children's parents and friends. This was another good choice for me, since I could use the same set for both shows. Score another big one for FLEXIBILITY!