Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Whole Lotta Drama!

Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending a Drama Competition with the high school students!

My son, Eric, has been working with the drama department since he began high school.  The first two years he worked in the booth on the lighting.  This year he decided to take the drama class to help him become more outgoing and to add something different to his academic load.  He has enjoyed the class and for the spring musical he was the stage manager! It was a great experience for him and I am so proud of him for getting involved with the art of theater. (I wanted to give some background as to how I became to be involved with this amazing group.)

We met at the school early Friday morning - the two teachers (who are sisters), their mom, three mom drivers and twenty-plus students.  In my van I had my son and five other boys.  We had a great drive up to Fullerton College, where the event was being held.

The school's courtyard was sectioned off in squares and labeled for each of the schools.  The courtyard was completely filled - I couldn't fathom a guess the number of schools or people that were there.  We set up our pop-ups, table, blankets and props and got prepared for the days events.

We had students that would be competing in the categories of improv teams, one person monologues, two person scenes and the tech olympics. They had been practicing memorizing lines, choosing costumes and props, learning knots and wiring procedures for tech, and working on possible choice ideas for improv.  The kids were nervous - this was our school's first year attending this event - so the unknown factor was an added stress.

After a great kick-off event the students were off to perform in their events.  They would be performing their same material each of the two days, and I did my best to try and see all the performances and events during both days.

Now, I had seen these kids in action before, in the fall play, improv shows, and the spring musicals, but I was unprepared for what I was going to be watching them do here.  The level of talent, from not only our school's actors but other schools as well, was amazing, to say the least.  To memorize four to five minutes of material and have it sound like your own, along with emotions, facial expressions, and body language - I found myself in amazement with each performance I attended!  I was so impressed and proud of each and every student. The improv teams did an awesome job of quick thinking, keeping the situation story line flowing, and getting the crowd laughing.  To not know what you were going to be asked to perform or what characteristic you would be portraying and then to have five people pull together and present a scene off the top of their heads is truly amazing to see!  All of this was done in front of judges who were rating each performance.

After they performed again on Saturday, performances were chosen for finals.  These acts would be competing against just a couple others for the top selection.  We were all disappointed that no one was chosen for finals, but our tech team did earn a first place medal for one of their activities.  Everyone sat and talked about how good of an experience it had been just being there and performing and plans were made to come back and compete next year.  They did receive the judges sheets so they could get feedback and read their comments.

There was time for fun and making new friends until the closing ceremonies, and the kids made the best of it.  It was fun watching them having a good time without the nerves that they experienced during the performing parts of the days.

These two days were totally out of my comfort zone.  I had no idea what to expect and I was quite nervous.  I rarely, if ever, leave to go out of town with just one of my kids, and staying over night was something new for me. This was the first time I had ever had a hotel room to myself! (It felt cool - unfortunately, I was too tired to really enjoy it for too long...) It was nice being with some adults and getting to know them better.  I really enjoyed talking to the kids one on one and learning more about them.  I loved getting to see them perform and being able to watch how talented they are was such a gift.  I am still amazed at what I was able to experience.  I am sure that I will never forget how inspiring their performances were and the special gift those two days were.

I had an amazing time and I am looking forward to going again next year!

As they say in the theater - 'Break a Leg'!


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