Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had enjoyable celebrations. We had a lovely time here at Mockingbird Cottage--a quiet evening with the family and good food. Just the way I like it.
A few notes:
1. Just a reminder, I'm now answering comments in the comment section instead of via email. Just want you to know in case you think I'm ignoring your comments.
2. I'm working on an important post for next week MSM--an important trick I've found to getting adolescents to do what you want them to do. I don't have time to write it today, but do come by next week. I think it will be worth your while.
In the meantime, I thought I'd post some pictures from our last play (I do have permission from the parents of all the students, incidentally).
This fall, instead of doing one big play like any sane person would do, I decided to do two shorter plays. My intent was to create more opportunities for more kids. So, we did two one-hour plays as Act 1 and 2. Sondheim's Into the Woods, Jr. and Disney's Aladdin Jr.
I've been wanting to post pictures but haven't had time or energy until now. Here are some pictures from Aladdin. I'll get the Into the Woods batch up in another post. The story follows the Disney movie pretty closely with just a few minor modifications, mostly for the sake of time.
As always, I'm amazed at what committed middle school kids and supportive parents can pull off. It's really amazing! I have the most incredibly supportive and talented community.
Here are the narrators, getting the show started with "Arabian Nights."
Princess Jasmine in the marketplace.
Aladdin and Jasmine meet in the marketplace
Iago and Jafar
Close up of Iago. This girl was amazing! It's not easy to manipulate a puppet, and she did it so well, acting with the puppet and her own face.
Aladdin gets thrown in the treasure cave.
Aladdin finds the lamp at the bottom of a big pile of treasure. I wish we had a better picture....oh well.
Here's the Genie's appearance. We used a large CO2 fire extinguisher behind the treasure pile. It was cheap, easy, and very effective. Last spring, in The Wizard of Oz, the fog machines we used kept triggering the fire alarms, so this was a great alternative. You could use a number of these for bigger plumes of smoke. Great special effect tip! We just had to get it refilled between shows.
The Genie. Normally, he's a big, blue guy. But we had a small, pink, girl, and she was stellar. She lit the stage up every time she came on. For the staging in "Friend Like Me" we hired a magician to choreograph a magic show. That worked out really well.
Some of the magic tricks in "Friend Like Me." Every night, I died when she did this trick. She tied a rope around her neck and pulled it tight--and it apparently slipped through her neck. It was impressive, but I was always terrified that she'd do it wrong one night!
Another magic trick--"Can your friends pull this out of a little hat..."
Aladdin meets the Flying Carpet.
The start of the parade for "Prince Ali." We choreographed so that the kids crossed the stage, then doubled back and did it again. It gave the impression of a huge throng of followers.
The Genie, Carpet, and Aladdin try to figure out to get a date with Jasmine.
Aladdin's transformation into Prince Ali was tricky. It's supposed to be something the Genie does magically. The script recommends turning out the lights and then bringing them back on, with Aladdin making a quick change. That seemed a bit obvious, but we weren't sure what else to do. So, our magician taught the Genie to make some of Aladdin's costume items "appear" magically out of an empty prop. Then she handed them to him and they went off-stage where he changed during the scene change. It worked really well.
Aladdin, the carpet, and Jasmine and some dancers during "A Whole New World." Oh my goodness, could those two kids sing! They sounded so good--this Aladdin had a far more mature and rich voice than we usually see in middle school.
Nice shot of Iago and Jafar.
Aladdin, the Genie, and Jasmine in the finale