By: Corinne Cameron
I expected to start this blog post, my first “official” one for Cape Cod Mommies, all competent sounding. For example saying; “I recently sat down with Lisa Jo Rudy, director of the upcoming production of Alice and Wonderland at The Woods Hole Theatre Company and we had and incredible and lively conversation about the production but also children’s theatre itself. That sounds good right? Well that didn’t exactly happen. Why you ask? Well its easy and can be described in only one word! Motherhood.
Heck, I didn’t even have time to do a phone interview, let alone sit down in a cozy coffee shop, not having time constraints or others cares to side track the conversation. What I was able to do was to cobble together a bunch of questions in an email in between making dinner, stepping on a lego (you would have thought I was dying it hurt so badly), texting a colleague to say that I am not going to make the meeting that started 5 minutes before I sent the text, telling my husband to relax and that its a good thing that our son is playing with his yogurt, smearing it over his belly as its a learning opportunity and easily wiped up. Of course the above list just created more things that had to be accomplished after dinner, which I still needed to finish cooking, because now a bath was in order (and its not a normal bath day), we had to clean up more toys as in my frustration I threw the lego in its bucket, grumbling and not paying attention I tripped over a different bucket spilling things everywhere and because I flaked on the Gala planning meeting, I now needed to type up all that I had gotten accomplished for it in order to email it to the other committee members so they know I
actually did something.
But I digress, which happens a lot. I figure if I could stay on track in general I could get a lot more accomplished during the day, but then I wouldn’t be “me”. Anyway..Back on track! Thankfully Lisa Jo Rudy is a great writer (she does it for a living) and was more than happy to answer my questions and also expanded on them giving me lots of great information to share with everyone. The following are the questions I asked and her responses. From the looks of it this is going to be an incredible experience for our youth.
Corinne: What made you want to direct a children's show?
Lisa: Actually, I didn't want to direct a CHILDREN'S show: my interest is in multigenerational shows that include and feature children. Why? Well, first of all, I actively enjoy working with children, particularly children who are relatively new to theater, or for whom theater is an unusual opportunity to shine. A lot of kids have a tough time in school, but are real standouts in theater -- whether onstage or backstage. I have also seen that including people of all ages in a show means that people of all ages get to know one another -- not as "so and so's kid," or "so and so's mom," but as real people with whom they share a lifelong interest in a shared community. It's also important, I think, that multigenerational shows require EVERYONE, whatever their age, to accept the SAME level of responsibility for the success of the production. This isn't a "fun little activity for the kids," but rather a community theatre production with a professional mindset. in which kids have the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else. A child who rises to the challenge of theater is rising to the SAME challenge as the teens and adults around him or her. Also: I always wanted to BE a kid onstage, so this is a chance for my younger self to finally get that opportunity!
Corinne: What type of children are you looking for or what are some characteristics potential “auditioners” should have?
Lisa: First, what's NOT important: kids don't necessarily need a lot of onstage experience, or a strong background in performing. They don't need high grades, and they don't need to be popular, athletic, or even good looking. They also don't need to be the BEST actor, singer, or dancer around. What they DO need are:
For Alice, we will be casting children ages 6 and up (including teens and adults). We hope to find kids with all the abilities above, as well as some kids with good skills in singing, playing instruments, and tumbling. We are also very open to kids who are interested in helping with set construction, costumes, and props -- and we are hoping to find some teens who enjoy helping younger kids get into costume and be ready to go on stage. We will not be accepting children under the age of 6 for this show.
Corinne: Why do you think children's theatre is important and how do you feel theatre in general can benefit a child?
Lisa: Theater is one of the world's oldest arts, and a child who gets involved with theater has a lifetime of enjoyment, friendship, learning, and excitement ahead of him or her. Community theater offers kids what I think may be a unique opportunity to take a real, responsible role in a project that includes people of all ages, that is significant to the entire community, and in which their hard work matters just as much as any adult's. That goes not only for kids on stage but also for kids backstage. Theater people are also different, in many ways, from "typical" people in the community. They tend to value different things -- imagination instead of athletic ability; artistic finesse instead of popularity; hands-on skills instead of grade scores. For many kids, theater is the one place where their greatest skills are not only valued but also nurtured -- and that experience won't end just because your child grows up. In fact, it can continue throughout their lives and on into old age!
Corinne: What is unique about your production?
Lisa: This will be the first family show in Woods Hole for decades! Our plan is to do some unusual things depending upon who turns out for auditions: ideally, we hope to have a group of vocalists (singers), a few instrumentalists, multiple Alice's and White Rabbits (we'll explain when we see auditioners). If we get good tumblers who are small enough, they will become live hedgehogs in the Red Queen's croquet match. We have learned that keeping kids backstage for long periods is no fun for anyone, so everyone will be helping out with moving set pieces, etc., throughout the show. We also plan to turn the Woods Hole Community Hall
into Wonderland! Also, depending upon whether we are able to get the right folks involved, we'd love to run a few "Mad Tea Parties" for audiences before or after productions.
Corinne: What can a potential cast member expect out of the experience and will it get in the way of school and other activities?
Lisa: See above for what you'll get out of the experience! Re: getting in the way: yes, theater gets in the
way. There will be evening rehearsals, and late rehearsals the week before the show. You may have to say "no" to other activities, especially toward the middle of February. BUT -- most if not all of the performances will be during Winter Break in February, so that should make things a little easier.
Corinne: What can PARENTS get out of being part of a multigenerational production?
Lisa: Whether onstage or backstage, parents involved with a multigenerational show can get some pretty amazing benefits. Community: some parents make very good friends through theater. A whole new passion: many dedicated theater people got interested through their kids, and kept going long after their kids got bored. Family togetherness away from the screen: working together on a theatrical production is an amazing way to bond! Better knowledge of your community: if you've never been involved with theater on the Cape, you can't do better than to get involved with and through your kids. Of course, your first experience may lead to years of late night rehearsals, cast parties, auditions in towns that are an hour away... but if you go that route, you'll never look back.
Wow! Well if that didn’t make you sit up and take notice to get involved, I don’t know what would! I should mention that I did have a great follow up conversation with Lisa after I received her answers. If I could say one thing about her, it is her sheer desire to make theatre accessible to both children and adults by focusing on and using their strengths to the productions advantage.
If you are interested in auditioning here are the details:
When: December 12, 2013 at 5:30pm and December 14,
2013 at Noon. (If you come on the 12th be pre pared to potentially come back on the 14th for a call-back.)
Where: The Woods Hole Theatre Company, housed at the Woods Hole Community Hall
Who: Actors, Vocalists, Instrumentalists ages 6+, including teens and adults.
Preparation: If you are interested in being a vocalist or play and instrument (not required) please prepare and bring a Christmas carol or childhood tune to perform. Also looking for persons who can do somersaults, back bends etc.., speak with a British accent and speak in silly voices,
Questions? Feel free to contact the Director Lisa Jo Rudy at 508-540-7293 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Well, good bye for now… My son just dumped over the complete set of train tracks and legos for fun, so you know what Ill be doing for the next hour.
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