Wednesday, February 27, 2008

To Eat Cheese

The Director with the Cast of Smili








From September '06 to June '07 I taught at Oak Street Studios, a private children's art institute here in Portland. I taught 7 classes, with students aged 2 - 14. It was alot of fun, but exhausting! I am teaching just adults and teens now. I am glad that I had my year at Oak Street, though. The kids were wonderful and I do miss them! On Tuesday afternoons I worked with this group of very energetic, imaginative, smart and creative 10 - 12 year old students. Typically at Oak Street we worked in the visual arts - sculpture, painting, printmaking, etc. I started the semester telling these students to create a persona and a costume for themselves. I was planning to have them write and illustrate a book about each of their characters, but their characters soon began interacting and a play was born. The kids wrote the story with little influence from me - I really tried to just hang back and let them have at it. They chose Otrelle to be their director. The play, Smili, is loosely based on the Harry Potter books : there is a baby born with a mark on his forehead who has the power to destroy all evil. (The kids decided that the mark would be a smiley, that cracked me up!) Smili was never performed for an audience. We videotaped the whole thing - all the messy argumentative rehearsals - everything. I put together a rudementary CD for everyone, but it wouldn't play on everyone's computers. When I get Quick Time Pro I will be able to better edit the video.

Anyhow, here is one of my favorite rehearsal clips. Otrelle, the frustrated director, is very bright and has a vocabulary that goes over the other kids' heads at times, as you will see.

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