Friday, August 19, 2011

Start Spreadin' the News

Over the weeks I was rehearsing with the cast of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," I also was meeting with a group of girls called The Plot People.

In Plot People, we read the narrative of the play then read the play aloud. The girls drew pictures of the characters and wrote in journals on the play's themes.

We shared cookies and oranges in our weekly library gatherings, and after five months they were pretty well versed on the plot.

It was one mom's idea that this little troupe should go classroom to classroom with their knowledge as a prep for those students about to see the show.

Great plan, I enthused, but there was simply no way I could arrange that. I was, as usual, getting freaked out with sound and lighting needs as much as I was with corralling actors.

So I gave the mom Shakespeare Club T-shirts for the Plot People. I rehearsed the girls with a pop quiz before their venture and off they went. Knock knock knock.

Their goal was to spend time with the youngest students in the school. The girls visited the kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, where some teachers had embraced the play by making puppets of the characters. Super-cool, I thought.

I had created teacher's prep kits with a quick rundown of the story along with projects students could do to acquaint themselves with the play.

Honestly, I would say maybe half of the teachers took the time to use these kits, so I was thrilled to hear of the Plot People coming across puppets and drawings to accompany their telling of the story.

What I do know is the pride those girls had upon entering each room was worth the effort.

There is a lot of chitchat on the subject of children and self-esteem. Doing something scary like standing up in front of other kids goes a long way toward building confidence.

I felt lonely when I was at home and all my sisters went somewhere but I had to stay home. None of them came home saying I wish you came.

Another time was when I was with my friends and they kept telling secrets and they asked me not to here the secret.
—Phoebe, 5th grade

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