Sunday, May 15, 2011

English Day Term One: Heal the World

In a whirl, the last day of school has come and gone, and with it, my first attempt at directing, stage-managing, writing, and producing a play. I am not fishing for your compliments here, but to be honest, even I am not exactly sure how I pulled it off in the end!

In an earlier blog, I described the formation of the idea and the hardships faced while rehearing. In short, the idea came to me while at church one Sunday morning about six weeks ago. This was the first Sunday following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and so naturally, it was on my mind as I sat quietly contemplating the previous week while a sermon in Samoan rang throughout the church. Lost in thought, I scribbled down the musical, and by Monday morning, I had a script and an idea to present to the principal and other teachers. We got to work immediately, and six weeks later, a production was presented to the mothers of the school children.

The show went well, all things considered, and I learned a lot about producing a play in Samoa. First and most importantly, never again will I attempt a show on the last day of school. In the second to last week of school, the students were preoccupied with exams, which made rehearsals unreliable, but offered a good distraction for the kids after their daily test. However, being that exams finished Friday and there was a holiday Monday, many students decided that school was optional the last week and I guess there parents agreed, because for the dress rehearsal, only half the cast was present! I told myself that more students would be present for the actual show because we had worked so hard and they had seemed so excited, but to my dismay, I was mistaken, and even fewer students came to school for the final show! I had not cast any understudies (my second lesson in directing is to never forget to do that again!), but fortunately, a few of the year 8 students were eager to jump in and fill the deserted roles. They picked it up well and the show went relatively smoothly.
The parents seemed to enjoy the show, the students definitely enjoyed performing, and I felt a great sense of pride for what we accomplished as a school. I had assumed that my presence would be needed the entire time back stage for scene changes, but two of my year 7 boys really took to the behind the scene action and surprised me with their ability to follow the story-board and set the stage accordingly. I stayed with them to ensure smooth transitions, but next time, I think I know who my stage managers will be because these boys really stepped it up and impressed me!

I am so glad that the show was a success and am relieved that I am now on break and can just relax after such a stressful, unpredictable, last two weeks of school. Term Two the plan is to do an even more epic English Day celebration, and I will write another play to perform. I am thinking it will be based around the theme of “Under the Sea.” I am now taking song suggestions, so send them my way!

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