And so begins the journey…
This past week marked the start of Into the Woods auditions and casting. At this point last year, I hadn’t even selected a musical to produce in the spring, let alone started casting it. So I feel way ahead of the game, and I’m hoping to stay ahead. Into the Woods is one of the most brilliant and intricately composed musicals available in the musical theatre canon. But if the auditions are any indication, Herndon High School will be ready to rock the house on April 13th. We had 60 students show up and audition; from seniors who have performed in every production for four years, to freshmen who are planning to make their debut this spring. In any case, I was blown away by the energy, preparation, and positivity throughout the two days of auditions. While casting can often be extremely stressful for everyone involved, this time around I felt comforted by an enormous sense of purpose and validation from such impressive audition performances. There will be loads more information shared in futre posts, but in the mean time, start getting excited for an incredible journey.
Twelfth Night (The Third Time)
On Thursday, my Theatre Arts 2 class journeyed downtown for one final time to watch Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of Twelfth Night. For those who have been reading this blog, I’ve made the case for the importance of Shakespeare. Seeing Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production makes a far more convincing cast for its importance than I ever could. Seamlessly using modern costume, music, and sets, this production is the Bard at his best. Watching the show with my students on Thursday, I was struck by just how difficult the play is to perform and produce. The text weaves into and out of verse constantly. The locations shift dramatically from scene. But seeing this play performed after producing it on a student level was wonderful to see. It was wonderful because it let me know that I am on the right track in many respects, both in choosing difficult material, and in the execution of that said material with limited time and resources.
Coffee with cream, sugar, and loads of creativity
Thursday night kicked off the first of four Creative Coffee House events. These events are organized almost entirely by students, and hosted by International Thespian Society Troupe #3260, our local ITS chapter. Creative Coffee house serves as a venue for performances that otherwise wouldn’t fit into a more formally produced event at Herndon HS. Thursday’s event featured singing, storytelling with interpretive dance, readings of original poetry, improv comedy, a skit, and beatboxing. Make sure you come out and support subsuquent Coffee Houses in order to catch all of this amazing artistry that won’t be confined to a narrow margin.
Friday night marked the second county-wide improv competition. Herndon High School fielded two teams: The Non-Denominational Celebrations, and the Ugly Sweaters. These names are totally arbitrary, but a good catchy and clever team name can give them a slight edge. Both teams competed well, but when the final scores were tallid, the Ugly Sweaters had come in 3rd place out of 11 teams. After the last competition back in October, I was informed that it had been years since HHS’s Improv team had even so much as placed in a competition in several years. Now, after two competitions, Herndon has put a team in first and third. I don’t know if there are official FCPS power rankings for improv, but if there are, I’d love to make a strong argument for top three at least. What a difference a year makes!