Thursday, November 20, 2008

Drama, Again

As I mentioned before, we are getting back into children's theater again this winter session, and classes start up next week. (Just when everyone else is getting a Thanksgiving break--ha!)

But this week, Blondechick15 and Bantam13 had to audition for their class, which is something they've never had to do before. It's an Advanced Drama class, which will put on a complete play at the end: Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, which is the play that the musical Hello, Dolly! is based on.

For the audition on Tuesday, they had to perform a monologue, then participate in some improv sketches, then do cold reading. Parents could stay if they wanted, so I did. It was fascinating!

I am biased, of course, but I thought my kids did very well, especially considering they had never been through that kind of an audition before, and you couldn't tell! Both got a little rattled doing their monologues--Blondechick15 because she usually loves auditioning in front of her friends, and it was so different auditioning before so many unfamiliar faces, and Bantam13 because somebody right before him did the exact same monologue.

(For inquiring minds, he did Charlie Brown's soliloquy that begins, "Lunchtime is about the worst time of the day for me," and ends, "Why shouldn't she [the little redheaded girl] look at me? Is she so great and I'm so small...She's looking at me! She's looking at me!" And then he pulls the paper bag over his head.

Blondechick did the maid Lily Sabina's opening lines to another Thornton Wilder play, The Skin of our Teeth. I wrote a paper on that play back in high school, and I had been reminded of the opening monologue by Haven Kimmel's book, of all things. It worked really well for an audition! She played up the "blondeness" of the character, who is an overly rouged temptress of a maid, and she had fun with a feather duster as a prop; at one point she waved it for emphasis as she asked, "Can anyone explain that?" and then burst into coughing for a couple seconds before answering herself, "No!")

And today we received the cast list by email!

And it wasn't quite what we expected.

There were more boys' parts than girls' parts, and Bantam13 got a nice role--Malachi Stack (who isn't in the musical Hello, Dolly!). In the play, he's a 50-year-old Irish ne'er-do-well with some big scenes, including one lengthy monologue about why he's going to return a purse full of money instead of keeping it: because he used to be a thief, but now his vice is whiskey, "And now my last word to you, ladies and gentleman, is this: one vice at a time."

Blondechick was cast as understudy for both of the two main female leads, Dolly Levi and Irene Malloy. While on the one hand this is an honor; on the other, memorizing twice as many lines as anyone else and probably not getting to perform...doesn't seem like such a great deal!

So I've been emailing with the director today, and it sounds like there's still a lot she can learn from taking the class. And if BC is only able to understudy one of the parts, the director is fine with that too. She's thinking about it, but I think she'll probably do it.

I suppose we might rethink that if she gets a huge part in the main production, but there are only a couple of those in the show we're doing, Schoolhouse Rock. (Yes, it is all the little after-school cartoons strung together by a loose plot about a new teacher's day before the first day of school.) Mostly, it is a show with a TON of fun, small roles.

So now that the two monologue auditions are over, we've got to get moving on the three singing/dancing ones (Bantam9, too). They're two weeks from tomorrow!

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