Today we're looking at a very special show, 2013's Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On. One of our goals as a program has always been to give our actors ownership over their experiences. This show, more than any other was truly theirs. Everything - the music, casting, costume choices, character names - was 100% from them. This performance was such a special way to share their dreams and hear their voices. Read on to learn more about the process and see some clips from these special vignettes.
In order to accommodate our ever-growing enrollment, this semester, we split into 2 separate smaller classes. Smaller class sizes allow our volunteers to give more individual attention and time to each teen; we’re able to cater lesson plans to challenge the actors who have been with us longer, and allow the newer actors to come out of their shells in a more focused environment. We also started a “buddy system” pairing each one of our teen actors with a facilitator. And, the biggest change of all, rather than working with a well-known story or script, we decided to make something on our own!
In preparation for our spring production of The Tempest, this semester we explored the theme of magic. Magic runs throughout Shakespeare’s work, and Prospero uses magic to change the course of his life and try to right what he believes was a huge wrong to him and his daughter. In preparation for this story, we asked our actors, “What would you do if you had magic for one day?”
Actors paired up with their facilitator buddy and they met outside of class – on Skype, over the phone, in person, and through e-mails – to create their own stories, brainstorming with questions such as:
- How did you get your magic?
- Can anything make your magic stronger or weaker?
- Do you need a tool to practice your magic (like a crystal ball or a wand)?
- Do you say a magic word? Several different words?
- What would you like to be?
- Where would you go?
- What would you create?
- What would you change?
During class we created vision boards with pictures and words to help build the story from beginning, middle, to end, and worked together to bring these each other’s visions to life.
In addition to sharing their individual voices, we also worked as an ensemble to create group pieces. The entire group opened with “Magic to Do” from Pippin. Each group had a dance party with the seniors jamming to “Teenage Dream by Katy Perry and the Juniors grooving to “Gangnam Style” by PSY. We closed the show with Prospero’s famous Act IV Scene 1 Monologue in American Sign Language.
December 21st, 2013 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre
Mallory Alcala & Katie Yohe
Kendra Van Kempen
Peter Van Kempen
Lighting and Sound Technician
Eric Van Tassell
Brandy Taylor of Graphic Sorbet
with headshots by Kristin Frasca
* denotes first semester with our ensemble