Friday, October 2, 2009
Stage Play Acting Classes Start Again
This session we will have a new Acting Teacher, Ali Finstrom (pictured). Ali is a trained actress and volunteered during the last Stage Play session as an acting buddy. This is the first time she has taught a children's acting class for Duluth Playhouse but she comes with great experience and enthusiasm so we expect she will be a fabulous teacher for our Stage Play students. Tamara Pogin, who is a Speech and Language Pathologist, will continue to co-teach the classes. We have nine returning acting students who will come each week with a parent or caregiver but this time our students will be rehearsing privately with their acting buddies and acting teacher until the last few minutes of each class, when parents will be invited in to see the new scene. So, while students are in class, parents will be out in the lobby with Tahirih Bushey (me) and we will be talking about strategies for helping the acting students extend what they learn each week in acting class.
So, what are we teaching this session in Stage Play?
One important idea that students seemed to learn last session was the idea of rehearsing. It is hard to overstate how useful it is to be able to mentally rehearse difficult or complex situations ahead when one is expected to perform something new or difficult. We heard exciting stories from parents at the end of the last set of classes about how their children were using rehearsal as a strategy for approaching tasks in life and we want to continue to explore with our students all the different ways that rehearsal can be used. For example, we would like to use acting classes to help our students understand that there are several different options for the way we might do a scene both on the stage and in life. Choosing one way to do a scene does not preclude choosing a different way next time. We would like our students to rehearse different ways of expressing emotions and even more importantly, to rehearse different ways of becoming emotionally worked up and then calming back down.
We know that it is difficult for many of our students to interact with peers, in part because it requires a lot of attention shifting and re-calculating to get any task done. We have students who have an amazing ability to focus on a task (especially one that is interesting) but setting out to do a task with another person means that one must change course repeatedly to accommodate variations in how the other person is doing the task. Even deciding how two people are going to carry a box across the room and set it down takes a lot of coordination. We hope to practice many scenes where our students can practice coordinating physical movements and other kinds of tasks with a fellow actor.
These are a couple of the big goals of this next session of acting classes. Below you will find video models of a new Stan (The Stage Dog) Game: