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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: High School and College Productions
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0203  Sunday, 27 January 2002

From:           Alan J. Sanders <
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Date:           Friday, 25 Jan 2002 14:57:39 -0500
Subject: 13.0190 High School and College Productions
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0190 High School and College Productions

Jay:

I understand the passion from which you are defending your position.
But, I have an alternative view for you to consider.  It has been a
long-standing belief in our American public educational system to set
the bar lower and lower each year.  There is pressure to show that
educators are putting forth higher test scores and passing more students
and instead of challenging students to rise to their potential, it is
easier to succumb to the lowest common denominator.

I think you will be greatly surprised by the resilience and adaptability
of most youth (most people, for that matter) when they are placed in an
environment in which excellence is demanded.  That is not to say you can
simply walk into a room and shout, "Time to excel!"  The students
(actors) have to believe you have such a passion and such a vision, that
for them to give you less would be wrong.  If you act like students
can't handle the full-length text of a show, then they won't.  And
sometimes perception is far more real than actual reality.

Try an experiment in which you spend 4-6 months preparing for a
full-length production of a more commonly read Shakespeare play (e.g.,
Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, or Julius Caesar).  Personally, I would stay
away from Hamlet as many professional actors have difficulty in tackling
such an immensely complex work.  If you go into your first
audition/casting session knowing exactly how you want the show to look,
sound, and flow, AND you show your passion to see it come to fruition,
you will be able to make the whole work come to life.  Don't go through
the motions.  Don't wait for the students to come up to you.  Show them
the bar you have set and share in their excitement.  There is no better
motivator than public praise and recognition in front of one's peers.

Give it a shot and you may be pleasantly surprised!

Break a leg!!
Alan

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