An important opportunity for all our summer students. I keep talking that classes should be the bridge to help you with tools and confidence to succeed when you finally are ready to get on stage. This can be in a school production or with a professional company. I am sending this out now to draw your attention to our first auditions for the coming year. YPC is seeking young actors for The Giver on Aug 17th. Full details for both the show and the auditions are on the website. Test your wings and fly….
But in addition, I found this great blog article from a director that works with young talent. It has a very strong message about owning the room when you walk in the door. Actors always beat themselves up about what not to do, what to do, how should I look,….. He says that all these things just get in the way of why you ultimately are there. Give it a read and sign up for a time.
I am just catching wind of this new pioneering series coming to MTV. I know that racial diversity plays heavily into our upcoming programming and this sounds like an insightful perspective from the younger generation.
It is spearheaded by Jose Antonio Vargas who received acclaim as a Pulitzer winning journalist and then revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant in 2011. So he shares a perspective first hand not as an observer, but an active participant in our American melting pot. It sounds like it cuts deep and looks at the nagging questions that have been rearing their ugly heads over the last year. I’m anxious to hear what anyone who has cable has to say about it. Premieres July 22nd.
Of course I am partial to the work we do here with our kids on a daily basis. I see doors open for all types as they tap into new skills. So it happens most days here in the summer with daily classes over weeks of camps.
However last week was a special project for all involved. We were faced with the obstacle of the 4th weekend, so we had to find a class that was abridged over just three days, but still gave some notable content. So we brought back our Create A Musical session from last fall. In Oct. we learned that a single afternoon was not enough time. But last week we also learned that 3 days is not enough either.
Our teaching team of Ian Zahren and Johanna Gorman-Baer brought great gifts to the classroom. But from there it truly blossomed with the imaginations of the kids. Their job was to get a glimpse of the amazing process and personalities it takes to mount a simple show. They had talents of not just performers, but storyboarding, collaboration, designing and creative writing. The project they came up with was called Alpha Beta; a contemporary sci-fi piece where your personality is based on the letters of your name. And then what happens when someone wants to rebel against those rules. It hit on heavy subjects of political oppression and gender identity.
These were monumental ideas they wanted to speak. Nothing was handed to them. They crafted a great arc of a story, defined characters, and lovely lyrics. The family audiences were amazed. We can only hope that some of these ideas are seeds that are planted and the world of Alpha Beta can live on in some other form. It was Pure Imagination.
This a shout out to noted celebrity Stephen Colbert who always has more than his share of opinions on all things politics and culture. But I love it when they are able to leave the bubble of their security and safe living to actually make an accountable difference in the world. And he did just that this last month.
I am not sure exactly of his connection to the cause, but he donated enough funds to cover every teaching grant that was submitted by South Carolina public teachers. I do know that this is in connection to a crowd funding source of DonorsChoose.com. Although he did not act alone, he was in tandem with both Share Fair Nation and Scan Source. But the bottom line was resources to enable over 1000 projects submitted by over 800 teachers to total a whopping $800,00. Some administrations will be very happy and lucky Carolina students will reap the lucky benefits. It takes not only a village, but a vision and some wealth!
Following up on last week’s post about girls and body image. For some reason I am getting a Grrl Power presence on my readings online. Maybe the upcoming Mother’s Day wave?? Here are two more videos to add fuel to the fire.
There is a lot of heat and conversation currently about #BlackLivesMatter and White Privilege. But it also has me thinking about Male Privilege and in spite of women’s suffrage at the turn of the century, there are still many shortcoming between the two sexes. Yes there is the obvious job placement and wage discrepancy. But who knew about women buying normal drug store items? Check out the revealing video with the hashtag #PinkTax. It is posted by the Facebook feed Mic.com and worth a look.
And then Buzzfeed which is a constant source of knowledge and insight to me. The video infomercial took 4 women in a photo shoot and “shopped” their bodies to make them into the “ideal.” As flattering as it was, it was also an example of be careful what you wish for… Each woman had strong reactions and felt that the image created was so perfect that it erased them of characteristics that are essential to who they are. Whether that be freckles of a few extra pounds. The lesson is to be comfortable in our own skin.
So often we are bombarded with body image marketing in everything from bathing suits to barbershops. I am not sure who the Grand Pooh-Bahs are that mastemind these ingrained beliefs that cross cultures? But they do hold strong; especially for women. I have heard it said that girls reach their maximum confidence of self image by 13 and from then on it recedes.
So I found this video from Dove fascinating. The premise is simple. There are two doors – One marked Average and One marked Beautiful. Women then chose which entrance they walked into the building even though both doors led to the same interior. This was across several nations. It was telling that in spite of no ulterior pressures, many of them opted for the Average, as that is what they view themselves as. The commentary after also spoke volumes. Girls, please don’t sell yourself short and label yourselves as others would do for you.
As I have been pressing our contacts in the public school system this year for residency work, I am aware that the landscape has changed very much. Part of me understands that the crusade of education has become accountability and graduation rates. But continually buried in the discussion is “cognitive” part of the process and how arts play a key piece in the total picture. Many agree it is imperative, but it remains the first item to be tabled in the name of both time and budget.
So I found it very telling and brought some discussion around the attached article. Just as we look at our US President to be a visionary of the nation, we do the same with our school superintendents. They take on the role with a list of requirements and expectations that require super human strength or impossible feats of tact and negotiating. Just like a CEO of a major corporation in tough economic times, they can be a cog in the machine that rotates like a revolving door with heads on the chopping block every 2-3 years. The article compares the roles of both St Paul’s Valeria Silva vs Mpls Bernadeia Johnson who recently stepped down. Is it even a position that has a chance for success? How much time is needed for measurable success? And to whom are they accountable for?
I have no answers. And even more limited opinions. But this is a great subject for discussion.