Monday, August 06, 2018

"It's Not About Love, Cause I Am Not In Love" A Day in the Life of a Drama Coach

I've mentioned several times before that I have volunteered to help my husband with various drama related events at our school.  It has only be recently that I have had more official designation with this.  I never was involved with any drama or speech events in school, though I was involved in band.  I have always enjoyed going to see plays and musicals, so I have some background on shows that are out there.  I just lacked in practical experience, as I don't think being "forced" to be in classroom plays in elementary school quite cut it.

Anyway, I have increased how I have helped the junior high play, speech program, and now the thespian group.  I mainly run tech for the junior high play, running sound, spotlight, and the light board.  However, there are times when my husband has had another meeting or situation that has come up and I have subbed into cover the practice.  At first, I was more reluctant to give direction, because what do I know?  I only was in a "real" play because seven years ago, we had someone drop out and couldn't get a replacement.  I had to quickly learn lines and be a bride in the JH play......kind of AWKWARD!

But, I am starting to accept that I have had quite a lot of experience observing and attending different workshops to become more knowledgeable in drama practices to be more confident that I can help coach students.  I coached one JH speech group mainly by myself this year and that was a great learning experience to have to figure out blocking, actions, and speaking components.  Right now, we are in the mix of a thespian show.  Our group isn't currently a school sponsored group, so this is in addition to speech and drama activities.  The current group of students have really wanted to put on a show that's significantly different than what the regular HS play has ended up being the last several years.  This group has seen Almost, Maine at a few different contests and thespian festival and really fell in LOVE with the show.  So, students have been coming in for practices, helping to build the set, find/organize costumes, and promote the show.  My husband works as a para, so he needs to find summer employment, so he has been working with our technology director in the summer to help tend to our 1:1 needs.  Because our school is very small, the small kids that are out for the play are out for sports too.  At times, this means students can only practice during certain hours, which means he might not be available or we might have more than one practice going on.  I have stepped in a few times to run their scenes; this play is a series of vignettes.  I mostly feel like I can give meaningful feedback for the students to make their scenes better.  I don't feel like so much of an imposter anymore.  It's really great to hear them request specific feedback, and even better when you can hear and see them incorporate their notes into subsequent performances.

That's what a good portion of my day ended up being today.  I had a professional meeting this morning and then went in to run practices and fill "bags of love."  Time is ticking, school starts on Aug. 23 for students and the play is the 25th and 26th.  It is a lot to be thinking about, but I am quite confident that the students are going to put on a great show.

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