Open Forum

Thoughts for next season

  • 1.  Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-02-2020 09:39
    Hello Everyone

    I wonder how people are planning for their seasons next year amid all this uncertainty.

    My school has several different options on the table right now that all combine face to face with distance learning.  I don't know yet if we'll have our theater classes and productions online or in person, but we may have the option to teach and produce in person as long as we wear masks and stay 6 feet apart. Not ideal, but at least we may be in the same space (sometimes).  And it looks like the school will not allow visitors to the building.

    As my colleagues and I brainstorm, and Administration figures this out, I would appreciate any glimpse of where other people are right now and what they are thinking.

    There has been talk about having some classes outside so we can all spread out, (no word yet on if that means we will have some kind of tent or temporary building) so one idea may be outdoor shows. That's assuming they change their policy and we can have people come to campus.  And here in CT it gets cold in late October when our fall shows open.  Maybe we could have a show in our space and either record it or stream it.

    Our Spring shows were done on Zoom - Upper School live, and Middle School recorded and streamed.  They worked really well, but I would like to think that was a temporary solution.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are much appreciated!
    Thank you!!
    John

    ------------------------------
    John R. Conners
    Director of Theater Arts
    St. Luke's School
    377 North Wilton Rd.
    New Canaan, CT 06840
    (203) 801-4858
    http://www.stlukesct.org
    He, Him, and His
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-02-2020 12:56
    Hi John.
    Normally I would have selected a theme and season by now. I am just waiting to see what happens. A great concern to me are the latest studies on the aerosol spread of the virus  from singing. At this point, I am looking in to the clear face shields for rehearsals. I will likely choose material that can be rehearsed with a minimum of actors in one space at a time and that can easily be transferred to ZOOM. I'm researching radio show and television scripts as a back up.  I will likely hold off on selecting a musical which we are scheduled to perform in spring 21.  We had to move ours this year to ZOOM. I, too, am not keen on doing it again even though it basically worked but with great effort and determination.  The lag for music really impacts the experience.  If I had to decide now (which I don't and prefer not to) I'd say "the play's the thing" and go with non-musical season. That is why I've decided to take a wait and see approach - even if it means not deciding until well into the year. We should all continue this conversation as we are all grappling with the same questions.

    ------------------------------
    Amy Luskey Barth
    Talon Theatre Artistic Director
    Director, Thespian Troupe 5524
    Santa Margarita Catholic High School
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-02-2020 13:53
    Thanks Amy

    I appreciate your comments.  We do plays in the Fall and Spring, and our Musicals in late Feb/early March. (Middle and Upper School, so 6 shows, 8 if you count our Advanced Acting class, which I do!) We were lucky enough to perform our musicals this year, and moved to zoom for Spring plays.  We did The Imaginary Invalid and it worked really well, since much of the show depends on wordplay.  We got clever with some more physical moments.

    I only have the energy to just focus on the Fall right now, but I'm mulling over not having a musical.  That would be a very unpopular move, I fear.  But my biggest source for anxiety is not knowing if we will be online or not, or both, and in what form rehearsals and performances will take, so I'm trying to find shows and forms that can be flexible. Or transferable. Until the school figures out a plan, I think we also need to wait and see.

    Thank so much
    John

    ------------------------------
    John R. Conners
    Director of Theater Arts
    St. Luke's School
    377 North Wilton Rd.
    New Canaan, CT 06840
    (203) 801-4858
    http://www.stlukesct.org
    He, Him, and His
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 19 days ago
    @Amy Luskey-Barth

    Amy, 

    I'd love to see your Zoom show and pick your brain on what you didn't like about it. 

    Thanks,

    Maria Stadtmueller 
    St. Augustine School 
    Kendall Park, NJ
    StadtFamily@Juno.com
    Sent from my iPhone


    ____________________________________________________________

    Top News - Sponsored By Newser





  • 5.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-02-2020 16:24
    John -

    I've also been giving this much thought. Our school normally does 4 shows a year, which is a lot for a smaller school (400+ in grades 9-12) with no drama classes. I usua''y direct the fall play, but I'm also the theater manager so I'm thinking ahead to the entire season to try to have options for the other directors.

    In Ohio we do not yet have direction from the state concerning school or theater for the fall, so I am just trying to brainstorm options. Our spring musical was cancelled, but we did Don Zolidis' "10 Ways to Survive Living in Quarantine" over Zoom. Though it went well, students will get much more out of some form of in-person rehearsals and performances, even if they are limited by social distancing.

    I've been looking for scripts that we could do with the actors 6 apart. Don Zolidis' "Monologue Show from Hell" (Playscripts) could easily be done with that restraint, but it's so similar in tone to "10 Ways" that I'm still looking for other possibilities. Other monologue shows would work as well, though Zolidis' show has fun interaction between the students sitting upstage and some of the students down stage center performing their monologues. Radio scripts are an option, though less exciting visually.

    Though I haven't reread the script in a while, I've twice directed "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten", which can be done with limited music (about 6-8 songs, as I recall), and all the musical scenes have alternative non-musical options. Many scenes have one or just a few actors on stage at a time, and it's meant to be modular, so you can pick and choose what scenes you want to do. It has a great deal of flexibility.

    Once the state comes through with their rules, I'm going to develop a proposal for the administration for rehearsing with students in the theater, and performing the shows there with a small limited audience (for example, only families of the students involved, with distancing between family groups) while live-streaming the show. I've started brainstorming some reasons why this is much better than students performing individually from their homes, as we did in the spring. Perhaps we could help each other develop such a list here.

    ------------------------------
    Joel Brown
    Madison High School
    Middletown OH
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-03-2020 08:52
    John,

    We announced our season right in the middle of COVID-19. We have great relationships with the theatrical rights companies, but we also know that you have to secure the rights first. We are doing The Musics Man, Grease and Anatomy of Gray. Just like you, we are waiting to see what the Indiana Department of Education says the week of July 6th.

    Right now, out sporting teams can start conditioning July 1st, so we are feeling encouraged.

    But there is still uncertainty.

    ------------------------------
    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-03-2020 10:45
    Thanks Crit and Joel

    I appreciate the recommendations and support.

    I do have a bit of clarity from my school now, even if not from CT yet.  We will be planning to have our audiences at home in the Fall, but we will try to (at least to start) having activities in school, probably in the form of smaller, rotating groups.  So I'm now starting to think about devised work, episodic work, pre-recorded on stage, or just something that can pivot quickly to being via zoom.  Don't know about our musicals yet...

    ------------------------------
    John R. Conners
    Director of Theater Arts
    St. Luke's School
    377 North Wilton Rd.
    New Canaan, CT 06840
    (203) 801-4858
    http://www.stlukesct.org
    He, Him, and His
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-03-2020 10:47

    I'm (obviously) following this discussion with keen interest.

    I'm trying hard to imagine every possible scenario for the fall, since it's likely to be different in different parts of the country. Some schools may be able to do outdoor performances, some might do 25% audience full with a simultaneous livestream, some might have to do a completely zoomed performance. Some might be able to do their show on the stage without an audience. 


    I am working on creating shows with more depth and complexity, that could work in any situation. (I know a lot of people did 10 Ways to Survive... this spring, and I wanted to create something quickly, that was fun and simple, but I'd say that was a stopgap measure - or at least a show for beginning actors, rather than a play that really stretches people) 

    I've already completed THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST IN A PANDEMIC, which can be performed by actors in 7 different locations - it's essentially a very faithful adaptation of the play, with almost all the original dialogue, just adapted for socially distanced actors in different locations. I've got a new one-act called HELP DESK, which is similar to a play like Check, Please (mostly duets, could be done with social distancing on stage as the characters are supposed to be in different locations). I'm working on THE RADIO PLAY DISASTER, which essentially a "Play that Goes Wrong" version of War of the Worlds - performable live or virtually. 

    I'm learning a lot while I do this, and I encourage you to think about how you might adapt public domain work for virtual performance if need be - (anything before 1900 or so is fair game - just dig in, mess around with it, and make your own version.) I've also given a lot of permissions for people performing my other plays to tweak them as necessary for online performance too. (I get requests for me to adapt one of my plays for online performance just about every day, and I've written a lot of plays, so I can't do them all!)

    I think the key here is to be flexible, and have a back-up plan if your play needs to go virtual. We don't know what's going to happen this fall, and even if things seem fine this summer, there might be a resurgence and we'll all need to go virtual again (shudder). 

    But I'm always happen to listen and work with you and your school if you need to adjust or modify things quickly.  



    ------------------------------
    Don Zolidis
    Austin TX
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-03-2020 11:02
    Thank you so much, Don

    And thank you for the work you are doing right now to provide content for us who are trying to do good and intentional work with our students in this new format!  I'm looking forward to reading your new work.  We did Grimm Brothers a little while ago, and had a great time doing it!

    We usually do contemporary plays, but another thought I'm having is a theme of "old stories, new voices". We did Moliere this Spring over zoom, and it really worked when we focused on it's language.  And looking at Shakespeare, the Greeks, etc. for my Upper Schoolers and our own adaptations of folk tales for the Middle School.  Again, it may be best for them to come up with short pieces that can pivot easily.

    Thanks again for your input
    John

    ------------------------------
    John R. Conners
    Director of Theater Arts
    St. Luke's School
    377 North Wilton Rd.
    New Canaan, CT 06840
    (203) 801-4858
    http://www.stlukesct.org
    He, Him, and His
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-07-2020 14:11
    Hello, all.

    I have the 35-minute adaptation of Edgar Lee Masters Spoon River Anthology that Asheville High School's Troupe #2237 performed in the Chapter Select Showcase at ITF a few years ago.  Spoon River is in the public domain​, and I have made no attempt to publish this script, so I can send it to any of you who want to look at it for inspiration or as a possible piece to perform.

    Because Spoon River is all free verse monologue poems, it would be perfect for Zoom performances.  You could certainly add additional monologue poems from the book if you wanted to make it longer.




    ------------------------------
    C. J. Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator
    Asheville NC
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-08-2020 09:13
    Here's a suggestion that would work well for online collaboration and performance: have students explore a nearby cemetery and work with the local Historical Society to learn about specific figures from their own local history buried in that cemetery. Then, write their own monologue or free-verse poem from that person's point of view. Sort of like a "Ghost Walk" that some towns do. This project allows for creating as well as performing.AND you could get some great local coverage from TV and newspapers!





  • 12.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-08-2020 09:38
    So many great ideas - thank you everyone.  Let's keep the conversation going!

    We too have several possible scenarios, all that involve an at home audience, but the possibility to rehearse and produce at school, as long as we abide by guidelines.  We'll probably have to rotate small groups as well, rather than having one group of typically 10-15 students in each school.  So we're looking at doing something that could be released episodically, on a weekly basis, or shot by separate groups and then edited together.  This is definitely an opportunity for our actors to try acting for the camera, and our technicians to try out being Editors and Directors of Photography.  Also, depending on the tech students who sign up for the activity, radio plays (audio only) are for sure in the mix.

    I actually think there are a lot of possibilities for schools on our position, if they do plays in the Fall.  But I am starting to wonder about our big musicals later in February.  One thing at a time.

    Thanks everyone!
    John

    ------------------------------
    John R. Conners
    Director of Theater Arts
    St. Luke's School
    377 North Wilton Rd.
    New Canaan, CT 06840
    (203) 801-4858
    http://www.stlukesct.org
    He, Him, and His
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-08-2020 09:59
    The musical director and I just had an excellent discussion. We are pretty locked in on forgoing the 2020-2021 musical. The increased number of students at rehearsals due to the pit members, the potential (still in true or de-bunking mode) of the super spreader, the cost/reward factor. We are strongly leaning towards safety over any other choice and making it clear very early on so the kids have all year to adjust their expectations.

    As we wait on the decision for Fall sports- that is the real deciding factor for what we will do with theatre. Goose/gander situation.

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Trice
    Theatre Director
    Green Run Campus
    Virginia Beach VA
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-09-2020 08:24
    C.J.,
    I would love to have you send a copy of your Spoon River work. Thanks for sharing!
    Rita McLary
    GHHS Drama





  • 15.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-25-2020 09:52
    C.J.:

    I would love to see a copy of your script. jwesterberg@mbusd.org.

    Thank you!

    ------------------------------
    Jonathan Westerberg
    Manhattan Beach CA
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-29-2020 11:04
    C.J.,

    I would love to take a look at your Spoon River Anthology.  Thank you for the generous offer!  jbutz@wcastl.org

    Peace,
    Jim

    ------------------------------
    Jim Butz
    Drama Teacher
    Town and Country MO
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-30-2020 13:21
    Hello C. J.

    I am also very interested in looking at your Spoon River Anthology. Please share a copy with me: lbodden@gregoryschool.org.

    Thanks!

    ------------------------------
    Lisa Bodden
    Theater Educator
    The Gregory School
    Tucson AZ
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-30-2020 14:17
    C. J.-   I think I sent you a message, and would love to take a look at your adapatation.  Perhaps you sent it, and I may inadvertently deleted it if it went to my spam folder. I have been thinking about Spoon River as a great option for a devised  virtual piece,  though I may just use it as a launch for a similar more diverse, contemporary epitaph based piece.
    Thank you in advance
    Scott Keys
    Booker VPA High School
    Sarasota FL

    ------------------------------
    Scott Keys
    Sarasota FL
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 06-30-2020 15:05
    I also would love to get a copy of the Spoon River Anthology adaptation. Anybody know of any docutheatre pieces about white privileged, racism, or implicit bias?

    Best,

    Jason Peck
    Co-Artistic Director
    A New Theatrical Experience







  • 20.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 28 days ago
    I would love to read your work. Thank you so much! lnix@madison-schools.com

    ------------------------------
    Leigha Nix
    Canton MS
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 27 days ago
    I would love to have a copy: tillerg@sidwell.edu

    ------------------------------
    Garry Tiller
    Theatre Arts Teaching Artist
    Sidwell Friends
    Washington, DC
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 27 days ago
    Hi C.J., I would love to read your adaptation of Spoon River.  Thanks for sending it.  adarnton@kingschoolct.org.

    ------------------------------
    AmyDarntonadarnton@kingschoolct.org
    NorwalkCT
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 26 days ago

    Hi C. J.,
    Before you regret your offer, I would also love to get a copy of your adaptation of SRA.
    Thank you,
    Garry
    tillerg@sidwell.edu



    ------------------------------
    Garry Tiller
    Theatre Arts Teaching Artist
    Sidwell Friends
    Washington, DC
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 26 days ago

    Hey CJ

    I'd love to see what you've done with Spoon River. I was re-reading it over the summer and was a little overwhelmed by the thought of cutting down to performance length. I'm not much a playwright.

    Also, I don't know if you heard but I'm not at A3 next year. They are scaling back the program, but I am taking over for Pat Avery at South Eugene next year! KInd of a rough year to be starting a new job!



    ------------------------------
    John Monteverde
    Drama Teacher
    A3: The Academy of Arts & Academics
    Springfield, OR
    john.monteverde@springfield.k12.or.us
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 25 days ago
    I'd love a copy of your SPOON RIVER, CJ!  Thank you for being willing to share!  kruth@coppellisd.com

    ------------------------------
    Karen Ruth
    Head Theatre Director
    Coppell High School
    Coppell, TX
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 25 days ago
    Also eager for a copy nelllynch@aol.com






  • 27.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 23 days ago
    I would appreciate a copy also.






  • 28.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 21 days ago
    Would you please send me a copy of Spoon River?  Thank you so  much!

    Alicia Tully






  • 29.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 23 days ago
    I too would like a copy of your SPOON RIVER.  Interestingly, SPOON RIVER was all the rage when I was in high school in the late 1960s!

    Nancy L. Bernhard
    retired
    Salinas High School
    CA





  • 30.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 24 days ago
    I would love a copy of Spoon River. Thank you!

    fuquar@calcoisd.org

    ------------------------------
    Robin Fuqua
    Port LaVaca TX
    ------------------------------



  • 31.  RE: Thoughts for next season

    Posted 23 days ago