Paint, Tears, and Acting

As I’ve been mentioning throughout many of my recent posts, I have been working on a play with my 5th grade drama class: “The Cat That Walked by Himself” by Rudyard Kipling.  It’s been fun, challenging, stressful, entertaining, frustrating, and overall a major learning experience. I myself participated in a couple of high school musicals, both backstage and supporting roles, but that is the extent to my drama career/experience. When it comes to teaching/directing, this was definitely the first! Part of the time I was wishing it’d be my last, but I knew it wouldn’t be, so I continued to embrace each experience and make the most of them.

I have two groups of students, so one was assinged the speaking parts, the other was incharge of painting the scene, building props, and providing the musical aspect of the performance.  So two months ago, parts were handed out, and scenes were drawn up. We put in a lot of hard work, but also had issues with laziness from a number of students. Students struggled with memorization (a compilation of the fact that it was in their 2nd language and their lack of effort and time spent on outside of class practice).  And when it came to painting the scenes, what I thought would be a brilliant idea and make things easier for the kids turned out to be a complete failure and I quickly had to come up with plan B.

Needless to say, after a rough start in the scene production department, it all came together and I’m pleased with the outcome.

painting the cave. so far, so good
painting the forest
aparantly they thought it was finger painting..and I thought they were 5th graders…
final product: cave
final product: forest

When we hit the 2-weeks-till-production mark, we still have unmemorized lines, missing costumes, and I was beginning to stress out! Thankfully I had a lot of support and back up from a couple of the Russian-English teachers, and each day a little progress came to sight and slowly began to fall into place.  I started feeling a little more optimistic and managed to calm down for a few days.

However, when this past Monday came around and 3 of my 4 main roles were absent, my stress levels rose again! There was a brief moment that we thought we might have to postpone the whole thing until after Christmas, but I’m not even going to go into that!!!

Wednesday was dress rehearsal. Oh what a day! Our lead role, the cat, was still absent, we had missing costumes, we had students still using their scripts.

Exit calm…Enter tears of frustration.

My co-teachers were very encouraging, and reassuring that ‘everything will be OK!’ but I was still not sure. Thankfully I can say that my cat showed up Thursday, and by today things really did come together. Of course there were a few glitches, and we had to cut out a short part of the play as one cast member was sick today. But overall, the kids did an outstanding job. I am beyond proud of them. In the end, it was a true success!!!

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Despite the ups and downs of this entire play preparation, I am thankful for the opportunity I had to be stretched and learn along with the kids.  But I’m also thankful that it is over and I’m now on my way home for 3 weeks of Christmas vacation with my wonderful family and boyfriend. I will admit though, despite my excitement to go home, I was a little sad to leave my class and teachers, and if I do dare say, now that the play is over, I am slightly excited for round two next semester… for now, 😉

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