Friday, January 27, 2012

The IB Highlights Show

As the culmination of a great deal of hard work, my fellow students in IB Theatre HL 1 and I performed our one-woman-shows in the IB Highlights show this past Friday! It was a true success for each one of us and it gave us a chance to paint our own personal stories on the stage. The show was a collection of pieces that we each put together, surrounding a theme we wanted to express to the audience. I chose the theme "Happiness is the Road," and ended up performing three monologues (including one from Seinfeld), a mask piece, a song called "Dark Clouds" by Soozie Tyrell, and my own rendition of Goldilocks. I was really pleased with the final product!

As at the end of any major project, though, it is time to reflect on the process of putting the show together and on how well it was received by the audience.

At the beginning, I was clueless. I had no idea how I would be able to put together a show that told a personal story without boring the audience with endless tales about my life. I started out by picking a theme that I think about and talk about all the time. We began writing in class, time which I spent jotting down unfinished stories and ideas that I thought were related to my theme. Slowly but surely, I learned how to piece together a well formulated monologue. The part I had the most difficult time with was learning how to direct a monologue at a particular person. I would find myself just talking for no good reason. However, seeing the other performers in their pieces really helped me identify who I could speak to in each monologue. I eventually ended up with several pieces that I was really happy with.

Another area of my show that took a lot of work was the mask piece. I knew early on what the plot of the piece was and exactly how I would use it to relate to my theme. I had to spend a lot of time, though, working on the details. I had to learn how I could interact with objects that weren't there, for example, the car and the cow that I imagined in my mask piece. For the car, I practiced how I would use the car in the piece by actually getting in and out of my car. I had to make sure that I imagined every detail of the car I was using so that I could interact with the car on stage the same way as I would if I was on the road. The cow was an even more unique situation. I wanted there to be a cow in the middle of the road that interrupted my journey home. I knew I would have a difficult time communicating such a random animal so I worked on creating the idea of some kind of living thing. It ended up being one of the most successful parts of my show as a whole and one of the most well liked.

My song was a particularly scary piece for me because it was the first time I had ever sung alone on stage. When choosing my pieces, though, I felt that the song "Dark Clouds" was essential to the theme and was an opportunity for me to take a chance. I knew the song ahead of time so the process was more about coming out of myself to be able to sing in front of an audience. I am very proud of the results of this piece.

Finally, the Goldilocks piece was unique in and of itself. It was the last piece I wrote but it was one of my favorites because I though it was unique. When my show started coming together, I felt that I needed a piece that stood out and was different from the rest. I talked to my senior director about how I could incorporate the different types of theatre that we had learned about throughout the year in another piece. She told me to look back through my journal and see which kinds of theatre stood out to me personally. The result was the story of Goldilocks that required the audience's curiosity. I decided to make the character I was playing a mystery that the audience could discover details about as I went on Goldilocks' adventure. With some very well placed sound effects and lighting, the story unfolded very nicely.

Ultimately, my favorite part in putting together the show was working with my director. I personally didn't know anything about lighting before the show. However, working with my director, we were able to combine my visions for each piece with her experience and background knowledge. A lot of the details, like the light shift in the mask piece from amber to light blue, at the exact moment that the music started, I could never have come up with on my own. I learned so much in the short amount of time that I spent with my director and I felt that my show improved exponentially because of the suggestions she had.



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