It has been an exciting week at Alliance Theatre Education! With our performances classes running in the Black Box Theatre, Late Fall Session classes starting, and Play the Play with Cat the Cat on tour to local preschools, there is always something new and different to try out.
This Thursday, the Alliance Theatre Junior Players opened performances with a world premiere play, Kim Arthur and the Nerds of the Roundtable.
Based on King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, this story follows our hero Kim Arthur in her quest for being the coolest nerd in town. A mysterious “Motherboard in the Stone” is discovered at the dwindling Lakeland Arcade and it is up to Kim Arthur, the smartest kid in the fifth grade, to lead The Nerds of the Round Table and save their favorite place. Will Kim’s new found popularity go to her head?
This production had a full cast of actors, in grades 3-5, and additional actors called understudies. An understudy is an actor cast in a play and learns all of the lines and blocking of a number of characters. If an actor is ever sick or unable to perform, the understudy must be prepared to go on and perform for that actor in a moment’s notice. Understudies, in my opinion, have one of the hardest jobs in the play! Entering the Black Box Theatre, our understudies/ushers welcomed patrons with programs and helped them find their best seat.
These same understudies helped the director/teaching artist, Kirstin Calvert, give the curtain speech. A curtain speech is the information given before a play is about to begin, reminding the audience to silence their cell phones and no flash photography.
Performing in a new play is tough work. These words had never been read aloud before this rehearsal process. The playwright, Daniel Guyton, attending readings of his play in rehearsals to continue to refine the script for performances in the future. The students commented that this was one of the hardest things about acting, when your script changes every week.
Another challenge of the actor is that first brush with an audience. When the lights hit you for the first time in front of live people, all kinds of feelings come rushing forward. Feelings of nervousness, silliness, and happiness all mix together and it can sometimes be hard to fight them back. The actors commented that smiling and taking a deep breath help you get back to neutral.
But it is that final curtain call that makes it all worth it. To feel the pride of finishing your first show of many is the greatest feeling of them all.
Congratulations Junior Players of Fall 2015! We hope you have many more full houses yet.
Ever think you’d like to try performing with the Alliance Theatre Junior Players? Auditions for the January session of Musical Junior Players are December 13th starting at 12pm. Click here for information.
-Olivia Aston Bosworth
Family Programs Manager