Archives: December 2018

The Responsibilities of a Theatre Student

Added on December 1, 2018 by Alex.S

The Responsibilities of a Theatre Student

With the new addition of the Cypress Center and the brand new theatre, there has been a lot of speculation of the theatre programs, including the addition of IB theatre - what does this all mean? I am able to participate in most theatre functions and have a large understanding of how the performing arts programs run daily, as well as all the opportunities available for students.

Thespians

It's called "Thespians" for short, however it is the International Thespian Society. This is a club that revolves around theatre in general, as well as going to theatre competitions. Students practice scenes, monologues, songs, and technical events like costume design and playwriting, and participate in a festival for a few days in our district whilst being judged, and if they get a high enough score, can take a trip to the Florida state festival and take workshops and classes from the very best as well as performing. However, thespians has multiple other events for those who do not get into districts- this includes Improv. Night, The Haunted House, Shakespeare Night, and many new events such as Miscast and W factor (in which boys perform female numbers and vise versa), and school events like the homecoming parade. However, this club forms a community and even if you do not participate on stage or backstage but enjoy the art form, then it is to learn about and celebrate everything theatre has to offer.

WHAT THESPIANS REQUIRE

  • Meetings every Friday
  • Energy whenever we meet or participate!
  • Watch or participate in other theatrical events/shows
  • Go to districts and if possible state
  • Spread the word of theatre around WPS!

OFFICER LIFE

The Officers are very involved in running thespians - our sponsor helps us, however organization of events is all us. We make plans for all the meetings, send emails, and decide what to do throughout the year. We have to be leaders of the troupe and help critique district pieces, have separate meetings, go to club events, find ways to raise money, etc. It is very busy, almost like a job as well have to do something everyday, but very rewarding.

School Shows

With the opening of the cypress center came a plethora of new school shows for students to participate in - both offstage and onstage. These include the current "Peter Pan" All School, the high school play "Steel Magnolias", the HS/MS musical of "Addams Family", as well as the Lower Schoolers "Cinderella" and the MS Broadway review. There will also be a summer camp show of "Les Miserables" in which anyone in the community can participate in. This means that it is a fulfilling year for both technical and theatrical students, but it is also a lot of work.

  1. The Students must research the show and prepare songs and sides before auditions
  2. Auditions and callbacks last approximately a week, with students getting tried for multiple rows and learning new material throughout the week until the roles are chosen
  3. Once roles are given out, students must learn their lines as quickly as possible - once the scene has been blocked it should be memorized and not revisited until cleaning.
  4. Depending on the role, students must be present for long hours after school and for multiple days in the week. For example in peter pan, I have rehearsal 4-5 days a week until 6pm. If not in a scene, students would be memorizing lines or doing homework.
  5. Many techies have to shadow performers and come to rehearsals in order to see how the show runs and to practice moving sets/lightning/finding props
  6. There will be weekend rehearsals for both set building and for full runs of the show, which can be long and detailed and tiring.
  7. Tech week is the busiest time for a production- students spend long amounts of time in the theatre working the show, usually until 7-9 at night. Juggling this and school work as well as other extracurricular activities can be very difficult, and the rehearsals take a lot of time and effort in order to make sure as the pieces of the puzzle (the set, music, blocking, and other technical effects) fit together.
  8. Show week is the time in which the months of preparation are worth it- students work hard in order to show everyone what they had been working on. It is tiring, but rewarding to see the positive comments and to have an audience. There is usually more time to do other work as well.
  9. After the final show, students are rewarded with an after party in which they get to relax and celebrate their work. It can be quite sad to close a show because of all the effort put into it and the memories made, but soon students get excited for the next and will take what they have learnt from the past show with them.

Classes

The performance sets are very difficult to maintain, therefore many students take classes in and outside of school in order to keep and improve their skills. A lot of theatre students take dance classes in order to keep with the demand of movement in shows, as well as musical theatre which can contain high intensity dancing in multiple styles. They also take choir or chorus, to learn the proper technique of singing, the different variations, and how to be united in a group. Both of these classes also give the benefit of making the student a triple threat, something desired in the community because of the versatility of the student that allows them to perform roles with multiple requirements (for example a character that can sing opera, or Tap dances). Some students even take music classes to learn or understand musical instruments and how to read music- there are many shows that now require actors to play instruments and the business is very competitive. These music students also have an opportunity to play in the orchestra of a show.

However, the most important part is acting or theatrical classes. It is the backbone of musical theatre - performance is about expressing yourself, which is what this class does. There is so much variation in acting and an actor can always improve in each style and in each style and needs constant direction in order to be as close to perfect as possible. This helps abstract theatre, speech, script work, directing and critiquing others, and being able to learn about techniques.

Technical theatre is also expanding at our school, through the use of the art classes. WPS is beginning to make its own sets, and creative minds are needed for this. Students that take art classes are creative, problem solvers, able to view the full picture and see what compliments, and bring new ideas to the table.

It is important to take these fine and performing art classes because it keeps the students in a creative mindset, allows them to expand and grow, and can bring it to their multiple projects.

Volunteering

Many students find their volunteer hours through the performing arts. Many of the lower school and middle school shows invite HS and MS students to tech backstage or stage manager, as well as help the children, and the high school shows have a tech team that consists of high school students- for example, many high school students are "fly crew" in Peter Pan, which is a very big job. Not only does it create leadership and organizational skills, but it gives students many CAS and volunteer hours. Thespians tech at both W factor and Mr. Windermere Prep, and students usually help the performing arts teachers in tasks.

 

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