1. Never trust a middle school student explicitly.
My main character needed cufflinks & I was wondering where in the world we were going to find cufflinks & a shirt that works with cufflinks all to fit a middle school boy. I was thinking about this out loud & he said, “Oh, I have cufflinks”.
“Great”, I said & didn’t give it another thought until today.
“Where are your cufflinks?” I asked.
“They might not work, because they are gold”, he answered (they are supposed to be mirrored).
“It’s okay, we’ll use them anyways.” (At this point, I’m starting to get desperate to have everything together).
“Oh, they’re on my other jacket.” he said.
“You mean the gold buttons?” I asked starting to get a little suspcious.
“No, no they’re cufflinks”, he adamantly answered.
“Okay, go get them”.
5 minutes later…
“That’s what I thought.”
And so here we are less than week before the play with no cufflinks & no time to find them. So…we’re going to use earrings – don’t tell!
2. It’s easier to direct a play when you are ‘with child’ than it is to direct a play with a child.
Trying to tell a student to talk louder while trying to shush Ezra or trying to work his feedings into play practice has not been an easy feat! Thankfully, I’ve had baby-sitters for most of the practices. However, I don’t know how many times I’ve walked home from practice & realized that I’m about an hour or more late in feeding Ezra. Oops! Thankfully he is a forgiving child. I’m also thankful he isn’t mobile yet!
3. Never trust a middle school student. Period.
For weeks, I’ve been telling the students to run lines with their parents or siblings at home. I was beginning to get more than a little nervous as my main characters did not seem to be improving. I pulled them aside & told them to keep running lines with their parents each night. Just to be safe I figured I’d send the parents an e-mail & just remind them that they need to be running lines every night. The e-mail I get back from one of the parents said (in a nutshell)…”Oh, we’ve been offing to run lines with him, but he hasn’t let us.”
At least that explains why they aren’t getting any better!
4. Just because you aren’t on stage doesn’t mean you don’t get nervous!
Having acted in middle school & high school, I knew last year that my actors would be nervous before show time and so I was ready with all the normal lines:
“Once the lights are on you won’t know anyone is even out there”
“Just get on stage & have fun!”
“You know your lines, you’ll be just fine”
“No, you don’t really need to go to the bathroom again for the 5th time, you’re just nervous. Just get backstage.”
No one warned me that I would be nervous, but I was. SO nervous! As I shoed the actors backstage & took my place in the sound booth, I felt incredibly nervous. And I didn’t know what to tell myself. And once again this year, I feel nervous when I stop & think about actually putting this play on for an audience! *Gulp!*
5. It is worth it.
Watching the students practice their curtain call today made me feel like a proud mother hen. They’ve worked hard & it is so exciting to see all their gifts & talents come together into something fun & cohesive. It makes all those frustrating practices, the long hours, the stress, & the endless stream of questions worth it.
One response to “Things I’ve learned while directing a middle school play….”
Super site! I have been thinking about asking you, Heather, if you would look at a play I wrote a few years back. 3 acts, sorta short, Chrismas Eve theme, I am sure very crude by most standards, but I think it has potential. No Pressure, 8^)) would you consider giving it a quick look over and at least let me know if I have someting “doable”?That being said, I know you are both very busy with school and the new family member. Please let me know and I doo know that it may be a while before you have any free time in your schedule.
Keep up the good work, I pray mostly that you two would be an example of love and faithfulness in your marriage and service to God, to those you work with and teach alike. May God bless your home and your hearts,
Jim and Linda Crenshaw