Monthly Archives: October 2012

We’re on YouTube!

FFP’s Down Yonder Girls

We decided we just had to share several of the songs from A Shakespearean Tale!

So your director came up with some storyboard ideas and one of our cast members (my artsy photographer daughter) shot the video. We did a quick immersion-style, teach-ourselves tour of iMovie and produced our very first music videos.

We did A Mother’s Song and A Good Word or Two. See them on our FamilyFriendlyPro channel on YouTube. Type the name of the song followed by Family Friendly Productions in the search bar and they will pop up.

You’ll also notice that we now have a Video Tab and both videos are available there.

Everything is original — the songs and the video footage. Even the sunrise is out our back door and so is the horse — his name is Red. Isn’t he quite the star?

Go Down Yonder is next. It should be a lot fun. Look for it soon!


Drama — The Ultimate Team Sport

“The show must go on!”

You’ve heard the phrase. It usually refers to an actor in a leading role who “hits the boards” (stage) in spite of sickness, or to a prepared understudy who goes on for an actor who absolutely cannot, or to a little homeschool drama class crew with no understudies that scrambles like mad to find someone who can step into a role at the last minute.

I’ve had dedicated kids (with parental support) perform with fevers and in spite of a family wedding. Once, a leading role had to very reluctantly leave town due to a death in the family, right before dress rehearsal. The co-op director stepped in and we survived just great.

Our homeschool co-op drama classes (divided into lower and upper grades) are a risky endeavor because I have always been willing to do several things: 1) raise the bar high on the quality and complexity of the musical play despite the daunting time constraints of about 16 hours of rehearsal over 10 weeks, 2) take whomever signs up and guarantee them some kind of decent role, and 3) customize each play to fit the specific cast I get. That means, if we lose someone, it can be a challenging situation. It’s a risk we have taken twice a year for going on 12 years. One way or another, we’ve made it through every time!

A Team, A Body, A Family

Drama truly is a team sport, requiring the commitment of every cast member. In football, if the quarterback is a no-show, that’s a problem. If the unsung lineman who knows how to protect that quarterback is a no-show, that’s an equal problem. As I try to get across to the kids, if you’re in the cast, you’re important!

There’s a famous passage in the Bible where the Apostle Paul talks about the Church as if it were a physical body. Take a look at I Corinthians 12:14-26. The head or the face or the brain may seem most important and deserving of glory, but it can’t survive without all the other parts. Even a hulk of a football player can get sidelined by a damaged little toe. Wherever you are onstage — whoever you are in that body — you are important.

A play cast is a team, a body, and a family of sorts. When each member strives to support everyone else, at every rehearsal, and when the parents are supportive, challenges may still arise, but they will be met and overcome.

Being “Present”

Regardless of your experience or skill level, you can try your best to be present at every rehearsal and every performance, whether onstage, “in the wings,” or waiting for your turn to practice.

Study your script and learn your lines. Pay attention to whatever is going on onstage. Know your cues. When onstage, think about what is happening. Direct your attention to the actor speaking, or wherever the director has coached you to look. Try your best to listen to each line.

You may just be a beginner — you may still be a little shy — but, if you practice some of these things, you’ll go a long way toward looking like a pro! You’ll be acting!

[This is the third blog in a series. See the two previous entries.]

Drama — the Discipline of Hurry Up and Wait

No one likes to sit around and wait, even if it means a few more precious minutes before the doctor gets that needle in you, or until Dad comes home and reams you out for what you did to your little brother that day.

If you’re a kid in a drama class, you’re there for action! Not waiting around. First of all, you’re a kid. You’re all about action, even if it’s just yakking with friends. Second, you’re there to get on the stage and act out lines, not sit around and watch. Well, unless Mom made you be there.

A director can only work with one scene at a time, and, oh boy, if it’s a musical, and that scene involves a song and choreographing the movements of a group of singers, then… you can bet those actors not in the scene or the song are sitting around waiting. It’s even worse when the actors who are actually in the scene have to sit or stand around while others are being choreographed. It’s a bore. It’s a bummer. Actually, it’s a bummer for the director, believe it or not. The director feels the pressure of all those bored “waiters,” as well as the pressure of getting the current scene and song done.

Ask anyone on stage or screen — acting is so often the discipline of hurry up and wait.

If possible, the director tries to keep the “waiters” busy by having an assistant run lines with them. It’s great to have an accompanist available who can take “waiters” who are singers and go practice a song.

But, there is something YOU can do when you are called upon to wait. You can try your best to be as present offstage as on.

Pay attention to what is happening onstage. Think about where you would be, when you will come on next, what you will be doing. Study your lines. Think about the play in general and how you can help make it successful — how you can support everyone else. Be ready when it’s your turn.

Real stage presence is being “present” — whether you are onstage, “in the wings,” or waiting your turn in rehearsal.

[This is the second in a series of three blogs about presence and commitment in a play. See also Stage Presence and Drama — The Ultimate Team Sport.]