Monday, October 17, 2005

what are weekends for, if not to read?

I was a pretty lazy bum this weekend and spent it finishing three books... Eldest, which I have been working through page by page for quite some time (I come home absolutely exhausted and more or less useless, so I can't really get a lot of reading or anything else! done, which made this thick book slow going...), and The Horse and His Boy, which I finished in a sitting, and I read the last pages of Kindred in a bubble bath this early afternoon. I feel fat and spoiled by all of this reading.

I also feel depressingly out of touch from the book world. I have two shifts coming up the weekend before Halloween at Barnes and Noble, and I have never been so excited to return to work. I haven't been there since I started teaching, so it will be nice to see how everyone is doing and what is new in books. What is popular, what is not, what has entered paperback, and what is in the used department... how many books can I bring home without getting into trouble with Ryan? :)

Anyway, in school news:

Roshelle and I worked the homecoming game selling tickets. I was a little nervous; the only chashiering I have ever done included a cash register. But I suppose I inherited my father's skill of numbers (YEAH RIGHT)... I was able to cruise through it just fine and was only off by a couple of dollars at the end of the night. But holy craft cheese and macaroni batman--


And fun. I'm going to scan in some pictures I took as soon as the printer is hooked up upstairs. There are some fun pictures of my students and the pep fest.

And we won by ten points, which was really great for the students. Like I've said before, we don't have seniors, so winning these games is no small feat. Roshelle and I were too beat to stick around, but I'm glad to see (after checking online) that we did indeed win.

Of course, I am learning that our school is far too obsessed with football. Rumor has it, someone (ah-hem) jokingly was shocked that we attempt to make those football students actually do something (go figure) on game days--that someone in particular wants their head in the game. I don't want to stomp around about this, as it is all knowledge I received second, third, whatever-hand, but it's something to think about. Even if no one actually said anything--we have already had two pep fests, and both have been more or less dedicated to football. What about the other sports? What about the other activities? Let's have a pep fest for our one act play! Woo hoo! :)

There was something else...

Oh yes, a student, JS, has come to my room nearly every day after school to complain about how the drama department has been set up and that things aren't running the same as at North. While I can sympathize, I know that we (and by "we," I mean, me and the director and the Activities Director and now the principal) have gone to some lengths to let him know that he shall be involved and we just have to figure out how things will go, but mostly--this is a new building and yes, we have brought in professionals, and that is actually a good thing because we can learn from them and when we begin to make our own program, we'll have had all of this great mentorship and tutelage, etc... Anyway, JS isn't having it and there have been wearisome conversations about it. I like the guy, but I am tired and frustrated and I hoped we could all move on.

However, actions on Thursday night have caused his banishement from the auditorium as the play proceeds. I would elaborate, but I know that is risky, so I will leave it at--yes, it was a last straw situation, and I am certainly glad that I am a "mentee" at this point. I have a great deal to learn...

I went to North last week to observe how their musical is going. We haven't hit the meat of rehearsals yet at South, and I was anxious to see things in the middle of it all... It made me excited and for the first time ever, I felt some semblence of confidence as a person-who-will-direct. They are doing Anything Goes and there were so many things that I gleened from Stephen Phillipps that I hope to integrate into my own style--

Some of this will be sadly obvious to people who have been involved in the theatre more than me...

Such as, "Who are you? Where have you been? Where are you going? What do you want?"

I think "getting into character" is something that really needs to be emphasized. If the student really believes he or she is that character, the student will understand the role and the actions more clearly. I loved that Phillipps has a student director and lets that student run the show when he steps out. Besides Stephen, there was Elisa (a member of the cohort who I miss very much) who would work with individual students in her room as well as two students who sat in the audience and helped with feedback--recalling cues, lines, and giving advice, such as enunciation and logistics. ("It might look more interesting if you threw up and gulped in front rather than behind." Blech. There, the teenager perspective might be better. Blech blech.) Anyway, I like that he asks for opinions--even if he decides something completely opposite in the end--at least you get the feeling that this opinion is valued. Elisa is lucky to work under him.

I'm not saying that I'm not lucky to work under Denny--because I am--but rehearsals really haven't gotten underway, so I don't know how he really works as a director--but I am saying that it was good I went to North so I could have some inspiration, some motivation.

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