Okay, so remember what I said last week about walking? Completely negated if one of two things is true: 1 - it is colder than 25 degrees outside. 2 - it is raining and colder than, we’re gonna say, 50 degrees. Then somebody get me a ride as fast as humanly possible, please and thank you.
The above paragraph is prompted by the current weather in Ohio and the trip I just had to make from campus back to my apartment in pouring rain and leaky boots.
But now on to happier things. Questions!
My favorite thing about the internet? The communities that have formed, communities that wouldn’t have had a chance to form if this virtual place of existence wasn’t available. Nerdfighteria is a great example, of course, but it wasn’t my first online community. My first was a Harry/Ginny forum called Requiem that I was heavily involved in pre-HBP. And once I started writing fanfiction, I found a comfortable fandom niche on LiveJournal, to the point where, when I went to London two years ago, I was able to meet one of my online friends in person and spend a day with her. That’s my favorite part about the internet.
My Hogwarts house? Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw, Ravenclaw, Ravenclaw. I mean, when your reaction to getting into Ravenclaw Tower is “Oh my god, that’s the most awesome thing I’ve ever read!!!”, there’s no other real place for you to go, you know? But yes, I am exceedingly Ravenclaw, no doubt or question about it.
And now for this week’s question: So, what’s up?
Well, my world since graduating has basically boiled down to teaching my classes, prepping for my summer musical, and trying not to think about the fact that I have no idea what I’ll be doing in, oh, about four months. So, I’ll talk about those first two and go on to ignoring the last.
I work for Horizon Youth Theatre, a youth theatre production company that, up until about two years ago, was directly associated with the university. It branched off on its own, however, once its founding professor retired, and that’s when I got involved. End of spring semester 2009, my directing teacher mentioned that this group was accepting proposals for their fall show, and I was very interested, so I asked for more information.
Apart from that beginning directing class, I’d never directed anything, but I’d been involved in youth theatre pretty much my whole life, first as a performer, then as a stage manager, and I knew of a play that I’d done with my dad that I thought would work really well for Horizon. It was called Cinderella, the World’s Favorite Fairy Tale, which is essentially three one-act Cinderella stories (from China, Russia, and the Algonquin Native Americans) tied together with a series of monologues from the traditional, French, glass slipper Cinderella. It was my show against one other, and eventually, they decided I would direct mine in October, and the other girl’s would go up in February.
So I prepped and prepared and brainstormed about how to overcome the challenges in front of me (like the facts that I had no set budget, was working with a group who had only ever worked with one director before, and didn’t have an actual stage or, therefore, set), and in early September, I held my first ever actual auditions. I had 30 roles available, and I had 31 kids audition, so I squeezed the extra in. The show was a hit, and I really enjoyed working with the students, but I left the experience thinking it was probably the most I’d do with the group, since I knew they wanted to keep bringing in new directors.
But then the university went and pretty much screwed me out of graduation by failing to offer one of my required youth theatre classes my senior year. In a show of assertiveness fairly uncommon to me, I marched into the office and demanded something be done (okay, I sat down with my advisor, explained the situation and why it was the department’s fault, and together we demanded that something be done, but close enough). I and the others similarly affected were allowed to take other classes as equivalency, which is how I ended up taking an independent study in which I would be teaching a theatre class in story adaptation to 10-12-year-olds.
Which meant I had to find some. And where else would I turn but to Horizon? I ended up with a class of ten, nine of whom had done Cinderella with me. They chose to adapt Sideways Stories from Wayside School, and it was in the middle of this project that I realized it was March, and there had been no show in February. I asked one of the board members about it and was told that the other girl had pulled out, so they weren’t going to have a spring show apart from my class’s showcase, and it didn’t seem like a summer show would be happening either.
Not wanting to seem like I was offering myself a job, but wanting to give these kids the opportunity for theatre, I hesitantly told her that I’d be willing to put together a proposal for a summer show. The board agreed, and I was hired to direct The Phantom Tollbooth that June.
Now, if you’re looking for proof that I’m crazy, read this next sentence: The Phantom Tollbooth had a cast of 47 and a crew of four, so a total of 51 students participating, ages 6 to 18. Also? That was my choice. That’s how many kids auditioned, and I wanted them all to have the chance to be involved.
I stepped down a little for the show that happened during my last semester, only serving as assistant director while a friend of mine took the reigns for The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood. It was during that show that I found myself getting very possessive of Horizon. Not that I begrudge others the opportunity to step in, but I really want to make sure that when I leave, I leave them in good hands, with a new director who will care about the kids and the program as much as I do.
This year, I agreed to teach four theatre classes for them – two literary adaptation classes and two original playwriting classes (I apologize if I’m repeating myself – I’ve typed this information in so many places recently that I’m beginning to forget who I have and haven’t told). My story theatre classes are performing adaptations of The Tale of Despereaux and The Name of This Book is Secret. Of my original classes, I’ve got one play about the mystery-solving adventures of an imaginative twelve-year-old, and one about an evil scientist trying to take over the world while an elf attempts to stop her. I have 30 students altogether, about ten of whom are new to Horizon and new to theatre itself. It’s a wonderful experience, knowing that I’m helping introduce these kids to this activity. Most of them probably won’t continue much past high school, but a few might, and I like to think I might hold the place for one or two of them that my first youth theatre director holds for me.
And next week, I hold auditions for my first ever musical. We’re going an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. I’m a little nervous about it, but I know I’ve got an incredible production team working behind me, so that lightens the load a bit. I’m also really excited to cast this, so that helps, too, although I will be turning people away this time, which is hard. But this show has 36 roles and no more, and I have to adhere to that if I want to keep my sanity.
So that’s what’s up. You can safely expect to hear more about Horizon in the near future, but for now, that’s all I’ll bore you with.
As for a question: what would you do with your life if money was no object?
Alexandra, I’ll see you tomorrow!