Tuesday, December 14, 2010

and the shows go on...

This fall has been a season of theatrics. First the twins' play, then the big dance show, and finally Erin's play, with each event accompanied by months of rehearsals.

Erin's play proved to be a big time commitment for me as well because when I volunteered (as I always do) to help with the backdrop and showed up at the planning meeting, I discovered that we had to create the entire set from scratch in about 10 days, and no one else who volunteered for the backdrop work had any experience with making them in the past. Nor did they feel especially comfortable with drawing or painting anything. All eyes quickly turned to me to create the set over the Thanksgiving break.

I didn't mind all the work it took so much as I worried about how the final result would look and if the teachers would think it fit the story well enough. This was a brand new play written by Erin's teacher and I didn't really know the details. I had previously made copies of the different speaking parts for her to hand out to the kids so I remembered vague categories of characters, which I kept verifying with Erin. "So, part of the story is in the mountains, right?" "And there's something about a tropical island?" And from that I created a not very complicated nor professional-looking backdrop, but it was the best I could do in the time that I had with my amateurish art ability.

And the central portion with the title and continents pictured below. When a couple of helpers and I put everything up, it seemed satisfactory. The teachers liked it and were grateful to have it done.

This play had a number of major speaking roles for which the kids had to audition if they were interested in the parts. Erin really wanted a speaking part and tried out, but didn't get one. Her role of the toucan in the rainforest wasn't very interesting, she kept saying.

I thought the story was very cute and the songs were very clever. The beginning of the play and the intro song along with the song about the continents (one of my favorites) is in the clip (it's long). I took a video from the back of the theater, but I got a copy of the video made from the front row by another parent:

Toward the end of the play was the rainforest song, featuring Erin as the proud toucan.

The school kids and the genies travel to all the continents, the mountains, the pacific islands, the rainforest, and explore the oceans in search of what the genies "lost". At the end of the play the kids discover that learning about geography is pretty interesting after all and that, say the genies, is what they were searching for.

It was really one of the better plays I've seen at their school, among so many plays that I thought were really, really clever and funny. The amount of dialog those kids with the main parts had to learn was really impressive, and they pulled it off very well.

And my backdrop was carefully taken down and wrapped up for storage, saved for re-use in case they decide to do this play again in a few years.

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