Monday, December 7, 2009

Out of the Rehearsal Hall



May, 2009

Over weeks or months of rehearsal, a cast can get very homey and comfortable in their rehearsal room. Almost as if upcoming performances had become fantasy and would remain so. It can be a jarring thing to move onto the stage.

"Hey, so do you know what today is?"

I get startled looks, as if they should know, but no guesses.

"Today is our last day in Room 39."

"Where are we going?"

"What d'ya mean, Ms. Ryane?"

"Hey, did we get kicked out?"

I fold my hands in my lap and give them a calm stare.

"No, we didn't get thrown outta the joint....We're ready to move into the auditorium for our performances next week."

"Wait a second," Luis raises his voice. "Next week? Are you kidding me?"

"No, I am not. Today we'll do a final run-through and then that's that."


It got their attention, that's for sure. The run-through was pretty good, too. Polly's Viola was heralded by the entire group as "great." Henry remembered almost all of his lines, which are particularly tricky in Malvolio's conversation with Olivia about yellow stockings, smiling and bizarre behavior.


Ethan, who had mysteriously lost his voice for the last four weeks, finally spoke above a whisper. No one was sure where his voice had gone. Could be allergies, but my guess was pure fear.

Celia, who could be counted on to whisper, did a bang-up job of creating "Thank You!" murals for the Props Crew and for the students of Room 39. We left packets of chocolate chip cookies under the signs for those kids to discover.


"This is it, my friends. Next Tuesday we'll do our technical rehearsal in the auditorium. Now, you must remember this: Anthony and Pablo will be running lights and sound and having their first rehearsal. It's called a cue-to-cue rehearsal so that they can practice when to hit the right buttons and so on. This means no fooling around from the actors. Give these fellas your respect."


Pablo and Anthony had their initial crack at running lights and sound in the previous year, for "Romeo and Juliet." They are both ten-year-olds.

I didn't know I would have a children's tech crew. Last year, when I asked for help at a booster club meeting, one dad said, "I can give you a morning to set it up; just have your tech crew ready and it should take no time."

Tech crew? I had two nine-year-olds.

Never underestimate. That dad gave us a morning and those boys rose to the occasion. Next year I can only hope to find a couple more whiz kids.


Rachel and I handed out snacks to the group and watched them munch.

"Good job on the run-through, you guys. It's going to be really, really great."

"Ahhh, I'm so scared!" Beth called out.

"Who else is nervous about doing the play?" I asked.

The arms flew up.

"Good. Very, very good. You should be nervous. I would be nervous if you weren't. It means you care. It's a sign that you want to be great. You're ready. All you have to do is look at each other and talk to each other like real people. You will be fine. And...you will have best time in your whole life. That's a promise. See you next week."

"Ms. Ryane?"

"Yes, Nathan?"

"Do you mean that we get to be outta school for that tech thing...that rehearsal thing?"

"Yes, I will come and get you all out of class for our technical rehearsal."

Screams. Raise-the-roof screams. They're so easy.

Rachel and I did our final clean-up, gathered our belongings and I switched off the lights in Room 39.

It can be a jarring thing for everyone, I thought. Here we go.

CHILDREN'S WRITES: A Journal Entry
As Viola I live with my brother. I also have my dad and mom who both work as captins. The name of the ship my mom worked on is The Carrier because it delivered stuff from overseas. The name of my dads ship is Sea Dragon because it was a submerene. That what made me and my brother more involed in over-sea stuff.
Polly, 5th grade

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