Children’s Musical Theatre starting up.

ES Music teacher and Program Leader, Ms. Marnie Hurst has been working with her ES Writers’ workshop to come up with a script for this year’s Children’s Musical Theatre production (February 9 in the FAT).  The production is primarily for 4th grade students.  Please read on to find out about the play, auditions and rehearsal process.

Dear CMT Parents:

Auditions/crew placements  for CMT begin on Wednesday, November 2nd.  The theme (and possible title) of our show is “Better Together”.   (You can also find all information on my blog). Just to clarify, there is a place for ALL kids who have signed up for Children’s Musical Theater!  The audition process is just a way to determine which part each child will play in our production.  And although it’s not possible to have 30 main characters, NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY.   I am hoping that every child will understand that this is a group endeavor and that every single role — whether offstage or on, big or small — is just as important as the next.

IMPORTANT REHEARSAL INFORMATION: Not all students will be needed at all rehearsals.  We will have days when we work with just one or two groups.  Once the audition process is complete I will send out a full list of rehearsals and which groups need to be at each one.

I am hoping to get as much of the auditioning done on Nov. 2nd as possible, but we may have to continue on the 9th.  I will send you an email after the initial audition to let you know the status.  Auditions and most rehearsals will take place in the FAT.

Regarding casting: if we have too many kids in one area and not enough in another then we may need to do a little shifting, so please send me your child’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice of roles (support and/or performance) by this Friday, October 21st.

Please share the following information with your child:

Performance and Production roles:

  • If you would like to be part of the support team – backstage help, set and prop design, costume design, lighting design, sound design, program design or publicity, you do not need to audition, but please still come on November 2nd so we can discuss your duties.
  • If you would like to be my Assistant Director please send me an email.  I will discuss this role with anyone that is interested!
  • The members of Writer’s Workshop have been working hard to create our script and they have come up with a truly wonderful story!  As we go through the rehearsal process we will add to our script, write the narration and make changes wherever we see the need.  I am looking for a Script Supervisor – a creative writer, independent worker and confident typist.  You will be asked to assist me in the writing process and part of your job will be to type our changes onto a laptop at each rehearsal.
  • If you would like to be a performer – a singer, dancer, actor, musician narrator, puppeteer or any combination of these, then you will need to audition on November 2nd.  Please prepare according to the following guidelines:

Audition Guidelines

  • Actors/Singers/Dancers:  Everyone auditioning for a part in the play will do some type of role playing audition.  Please look at the cast list and think about which character(s) you would like to try.  Make up some ideas for these characters – how you would speak, walk, behave.  I will give you some role play activities on audition day and if you have thought a bit about the characters in advance, this will help!  This play will be mostly non-verbal, so I will be looking for really powerful expression in your face and body.  The audience will need to see what you are trying to express with your movements.  There may be some spoken parts and if you are interested in this I will also be looking for good expression and projection in your voice.
  • Most parts require at least a little singing. If singing isn’t your thing, don’t worry, we will find a part for you that doesn’t require much singing.  However, if you like to sing, please practice the “Sharing Song” (it is on my blog – we are singing it on Friday at the whole school assembly so you should all know it pretty well).  All kids who wish to be considered for a singing part, either for the chorus or for a main role, will sing this song together.  The kids who wish to be considered for a larger role should also choose a song that you like to sing – if you can find something that goes with our theme than that would be great!  Please practice your song and be ready to sing one minute for the audition.  I will be looking for good projection (using clear, strong voice), good annunciation of words (so we can understand everything you are singing), good expression – both vocal and facial/body.
  • Most parts require at least a little dancing/creative movement.  If dancing isn’t your thing, don’t worry, we will find a part for you that doesn’t require much dance.  However, if you really like to dance, please make up a short routine to a song you like – one minute maximum.  Any style of dance is welcomed.  If you would rather not dance alone for the audition, that’s ok.  I will teach a short routine to all kids who want to dance and then you can audition together.  I will be looking for lots of energy and confidence.
  • Musicians: If you play an instrument and want to audition for the “orchestra”, please bring your instrument in on Nov. 2nd and be prepared to play for one minute – anything you want.  There will be a piano in the theater if you need it.  If you don’t have an instrument but would like to be part of the musician group (playing on instruments we use in music class – drums, xylophones, hand percussion, etc), please just come.  I will have some instruments on hand and will give you audition instructions.  I will be looking for good rhythm and ability to keep a steady beat.  If you are playing a pitched instrument I will also be looking for good tone quality.   In all musicians I will be looking for the ability to listen and work well with other musicians and to contribute creative ideas.  We will attempt to compose one or more original songs, so I am looking for songwriters.  We may also have some electronic music in this show so if you have any Garageband music you have created please send it to me as your audition.  Otherwise, if you like to work on the computer and think that you would like to try making electronic music, just let me know.
  • Narrator: Please bring a story (can be a storybook or something you have written yourself) and be prepared to read for one minute.  I will be looking for good projection of voice, good annunciation (meaning that we can hear and understand all the words you say), good expression and not reading too fast.
  • Puppeteers: If you have any experience in puppetry, especially shadow puppets, then please let me know!!!  Otherwise, if this is something that sounds interesting to you please look it up online or find a book – do a little research over the break.  We will learn together!!

Ms. Marnie Hurst

 

IASAS Technician for Dance & Drama

The IASAS Dance and Drama team needs 1 technician who will act as Stage Manager during the rehearsal period (November – end of February) and Stage Manager, Lighting and Sound technician for all performances – including the one at Cultural Convention at ISB.  The IASAS tech must be organised, proactive, and willing to take on any task from finding costumes and props to creating original sound tracks and even participating in some scriptwriting if needed.  This person must be a clear and confident communicator as well as a skilled problem solver.  A strong background in sound and lighting design is preferred, but not necessary.  IASAS tech will split his/her time between Dance and Drama rehearsals as needed.

 

If you are interested in applying for the position, please submit a written application of no more than 500 words to Ms. Close.  Briefly outline your theatrical experience and your reasons for wanting to take on the role of IASAS Tech.   Describe what skills you will bring to the role.   Applications are due November 9 by 3:00 pm. Drop by the FAO to speak to Ms. Close if you would like more information.

UPDATE: IASAS Drama Auditions


image via http://www.theatreunleashed.com/

All aspiring IASAS Drama performers please take note:

IASAS Drama auditions have been advanced to November 14 from 3:15 to 5pm at the FAT, with callbacks on Nov. 15 from 3 to 5pm at the AMR. As per new IASAS rules, a maximum of eight actors will be chosen. The piece is a stylized exploration into the journey of a male/female bullfighter (so do not expect a mechanized animal onstage.) As this will be jointly devised by cast and director, those who audition are requested to research bullfighting practices, choreographic movements, and male/female viewpoints.  Casting is based on vocal and physical expression, improvisation, and ability to work with others. Bring your preparation, creativity, and energy! AND…a large jacket or piece of fabric that can represent a bullfighter’s cape. 🙂 Ms. Mons

Important Notes:

Forensics and Debate team aspirants are eligible to audition for the play, provided they understand that if cast in the play and selected for a Forensics/debate team they must make a quick choice between activities.  Drama and Forensics/Debate coaches should be consulted prior to the audition.

Second and third season athletes will not be able to audition.

Please see Ms. Monsod if you require more information.

Sign up for your Audition on the Audition Board behind the FAT.

Romeo and Juliet: Director’s Notes


 

The 2011 HS production of Romeo and Juliet is not what you may be expecting from a  production that is using the “traditional” text.   Read on to learn more about the Director’s vision and ISM’s take on the play.

(from the Romeo and Juliet program)

Why bother staging a 400-year-old soap opera?

In a society where people believe strongly in the ability to create their own destiny, a play about two young lovers who are “fated” to die for each other may seem outdated. Yet there is still much that is relevant to a modern audience in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. If we read the play in a certain way, fate can be seen not as mysterious supernatural force but as something created by people for others. As ISM students move from school into critical roles within a truly worldwide community, it is important for them to not only celebrate being masters of their own destiny but to also understand the responsibility of being people who have the power to determine the destiny of others. Viewed from this perspective, the true tragedy for both Romeo and Juliet lies in the fact that their parents always had the power to end their dispute (indeed, it seems they are keen to do so throughout the play), yet are too slow in exerting the precious influence needed to encourage peace. The message seems clear: make and take opportunities to be an agent of change NOW because tomorrow it may be too late.

So why are there four couples and what’s up with the cheesy love songs?

In order to bring the theme of fate to the forefront of the production, we’ve cast not one but four “star-crossed” couples. Whilst the modern incarnations of Romeo and Juliet are busy falling in love with someone who is supposed to be their “great enemy”, the other three couples from previous time periods are brought back to life to watch the past tragedy of their love and eventual death reenacted. Throughout the play Romeo and Juliet constantly refer to fate as guiding them or, in more intense moments, as an adversary to face in battle. On one level the characters from the past are physical manifestations of fate but on another level the couples, which appear as statues at the beginning of the play, come to signify the lessons we could learn from the past but choose to ignore. The macabre imagery of the old saying “If your ancestors could see you now, they would turn in their grave” seems to be captured by having the “star-crossed lovers” of the past forced to standby and watch as yet another young couple suffers for the same mistakes that their deaths were supposed to have remedied.

So will “the two hour’s traffic of our stage” be all doom and gloom? NO. The play’s optimism springs from the potential that love has to make great changes in society. Romeo and Juliet are two teenagers who choose to look beyond conflicts of the past. Their simple, heartfelt love does seem extremely idealistic but sometimes it takes idealism to solve seemingly complex issues. We hope to express this idealism by incorporating a lot more music into the show than was originally intended. Right from the beginning, music is given the power of breathing life into statues. From this point on, an eclectic range of music is used: jazz standards, original compositions and also a liberal dose of, dare I say it, ‘cheesy’ love songs.

Many people believe that a powerful message needs to be wrapped up in convoluted language to achieve gravitas; however, the most powerful moments of this play are when characters express their ideas and wishes in simple terms. Indeed, Juliet at one point tells Romeo to “swear not by the moon” but to “swear by thy gracious self”; she understands the need for plain, honest words when making important decisions about her future. At other moments, it only takes the pulse of a drum or quiver of a violin to speak plainly to the heart. So, in a sense, we’ve combined the words of Shakespeare with music because both mediums share the capacity to move people, unite people and help them envisage a future beyond a seemingly predestined fate. It is not the words or the melody themselves but the capturing of the imagination that makes all music and drama, whether it be ‘cheesy’ or majestic, powerful in its own right.

Putting it all together….

This show has been the product of countless hours of collaboration between staff, students and friends of the Fine Arts Faculty. It has certainly been a pleasure to learn from each and every contributor as they have woven their magic around a skeleton of ideas to produce engaging characters, original compositions, soulful arrangements, expressive choreography, creative designs and seamless interactions.  As both a Theatre and English teacher, it has been especially rewarding to watch a fresh set of eyes reimagining a 400-year-old text. Long live William Shakespeare’s wisdom and creativity!

Marsha Hillman

(Director)

 

IASAS Vocal Audition Details (Oct. 19 & 20)


VOCAL AUDITIONS

OCT 19-20

IASAS Cultural Convention: MUSIC

Taipei American School, Feb. 29 – Mar. 4

Music Style: Classical

Repertoire to learn: 8 pieces: Solo (1), Small Ensemble Octet(2) and Festival Choir (5)

Guest Conductor: Jin Ling Tan (USA)

IASAS Vocal Coach: Ms. Hausman, Rm. 1128

Audition Requirements: Prepare at least half of a classical song you would potentially choose for your IASAS Solo.  Demonstrate your understanding of vocal technique and classical style through your performance.  Additional vocal exercises will also be included, to assess your dynamic control, pitch range, tonal memory, and ability to sing and hear harmonic context.

Please sign up for a time slot on the Audition board behind the FAT.

Good Luck!

UPDATE: IASAS Music Auditions


Updates have been made to the IASAS Music Audition dates.  Please see below.  For more information on the auditions, please see the IASAS coach for that group or visit the original post HERE.  Audition times and locations are also posted on the FAO Google Calendar.

The 3 pianists will be serve as accompanists for ISM ensembles and soloists as well as be adjudicated as soloists themselves.

Auditions for each of the Music Ensembles will be held at the following times.

Band: Round 1:  September 29 and 30. See Mr. Nazareno for details or check out his blog.
Round 2: October 17 and 18.

Strings: November 3 and 4. See Mr. Odendaal for details or check out his blog for more details

Vocal: October 19: 3pm to 5pm and October 20 2:45 – 4:30 in 1128 (Ms. Hausman’s room).

Piano: October 12 and 13. Sign up on the Audition board behind the FAT or see Mrs. Gander for more information.

All Audition information can also be found on the FAO Google Calendar