It’s a big week for us at A.B.L.E.! In addition to the premiere of our feature film The Spy Who Knew Me coming up on Saturday, our ensembles will also bounce back into the rehearsal studio TONIGHT to create our next stage play! We're welcoming 1 new actor (Maria) and 3 new facilitators (Adele, Michael, and Jenna) this semester and will be working towards devising our own original stories which will be staged on December 2 at The Biograph.
Last week, our facilitators and program parents met at The Menomonee Club to prep for the semester ahead. We generally meet at the start of every semester, but this time we tried something a little different - we ran our first ever parent class! The hope was to help parents understand what happens in a typical ABLE rehearsal and to get to know our facilitators and teaching artists better.
While the parent weren’t quite ready to cut a rug during Dance Party like our all star actors it was all for the best as that time turned into Social Mixer Time with people introducing themselves to newcomers or people they don’t know as well as getting comfortable in the room.
Katie led everyone in a group warm up with breathing, movement, and a name game. There were some nerves as people realized exactly what they’d gotten themselves in to, but everyone participated and got more and more comfortable as the session went on.
Sean led us through Check-In. This semester, we’ll use our check in questions to build short movement pieces in the show, so it was important to introduce these key phrases to the families. We learned a lot about what we think makes us beautiful and what people love about being themselves.
Kaylie led us in a favorite ensemble game: Whoosh Whoa! If the parents had any reservations during Dance Party, it was all but forgotten during Whoosh Whoa! The excitement of the game had everyone cracking up. Facilitator Lindsay mentioned that it was cool to run this game at a fast speed, but it’s easy to see how people can be confused. We learned we have to listen and be ready all the time!
This semester, our ensemble will be devising our own show, creating characters, locations, and stories from scratch. Working in small groups, we played with one of the activities we’ll be using to create these original characters. Groups also worked together to create small group tableaus introducing us to their creations. There was lots of laughing, but everyone dove in and took risks. Highlights included facilitator Kate as a dog (a cockapoo, to be exact) and new parent, Michael as a croquet ball!
Next up, we tried our hands at scenework, dropping in scenes from Twelfth Night and from our upcoming Cyrano de Bergerac. This was an important opportunity to see what it feels like to drop in and to be dropped in. Everyone agreed it’s much harder than it looks! Some top tips we learned:
1) Use sidecoaching to help actors know what’s happening and who to look at
2) Give lines in manageable chunks
3) Body language is really important!
4) Speak clearly
5) Listen, listen, listen!
After chatting through scheduling specifics and more information, we went around the circle and shared our “Roses and Thorns” – our favorite and least favorite parts of class. After this experience we will surely have more parent classes in the future. One of the many “Roses” for the teaching artists was seeing the parents became comfortable in class and began to play., and how much some of their actions resembled their young actors. Many of the parents said it was great to get a better understanding of what happens in class, and to develop a vocabulary to talk with their actors about rehearsals. If you were a parent that was not able to attend this event have no fear. After this experience we will surely have more parent classes in the future!