Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Act Two - challenges

We started Act Two yesterday; S, the student who's working with me on the project was going to lead part of it.

I find it incredibly difficult to sit back and let someone else teach a class I'm responsible for. I find the difficulty increased by S's different style: I'm up and moving around, a frustrated Robin Williams-wanna-be. If I had his wit, his humor, then I'd be... a rich comedian.

But I don't, so I teach.

S, in contrast, is more willing to sit and talk. I know that different styles work for different people, but it's very hard to sit and shut up. The project for today is to sit and shut my face.

The second challenge is related to the first. There's this really smart student in the show; let's call her D. She's obviously got a really good understanding about how staging works, how theatrical spaces work, and so forth. The problem is, she blurts out suggestions or directions or information in ways that disrupt the group.

Because she's smart and such, she's right a lot. She has good ideas. And I don't want to silence her or discourage her active participation.

But, at the same time, she disrupts things. And, as she moves to the next level (from high school theater to college theater, or whatever), I'm guessing people aren't going to put up with her trying to give directions.

So there she is, in a way, mini-me. I can't keep my mouth shut sometimes when I should, and neither can she.

I'm not sure if she's not aware that she's disruptive or if she just can't control herself quite yet. After all, she's in high school and still has some growing up to do. Me, on the other hand, I'm supposed to be an adult and all.


I think I'm going to sit my rear OFF stage and in the audience section of the theater today, and that should remind me to give S her space better.

And I'm going to have a quick chat with D during the break. I'm planning to frame my suggestion to recognize that she IS smart and understands theatrical stuff well, but that she has to help her teachers or directors by holding onto her tongue a bit more, responding when asked rather than blurting out. And then I'll point out that she's pretty much ready to work at a level where people are going to be far more harsh about disruptions, and that she'll do way better at that level if she exercises more self-control.

I'm not used to working much with high school students; I can be fairly up front with college students, at least in the contexts of classrooms. But she's not quite at that level yet. She will be soon, I think!

Self-control and keeping pie holes shut are the themes of the day.

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