Saturday, April 2, 2011

All the World's A Stage...

I have recently had the opportunity to attend two different school produced plays. The first, "A Wizard in Wonderland", and the second, "Guys and Dolls Jr.".

The first play was put on by the small school that I work at. I mean SMALL. We have 175 students from kindergarten to 12th grade. Our Senior class size is 8. They did a fair job on the play, with moments of fantastic. The scenery was painted cardboard. The costumes were whatever clothes they could alter to fit the character, but their budget matched, and for what they had they did great. However, at production time, there were many lines forgotten, and prompted by fellow actors, and a song sung at the end of the play...well let's just say it hurt to listen.

The second play was put on by the high school where my kids attend, in the larger local town. My fourth daughter was in this play. The stage is full sized, with all of the elevator lifts, trapdoors, and pulley systems of a professional stage. They had 5 or 6 full-size, hand-painted, back-drops which they produced, along with spotlights, moveable scenery, and more. The costumes they created were all custom produced for each character. They had radio microphones for all of the major actors. For a high school production, I thought it was amazing. I only noticed one or two hesitations in the lines, and all of the songs were very well done.

I'm not mentioning all of this to criticize. I'm just trying to point out the disparity between two productions in the same school district. The small school production was supported by bake sales, donations from a local church, and I believe the play was free to the community in the school's 200 seat auditorium. The larger school charged $5 a ticket, and had large audiences in their 1000 seat theater.

I'm sure the smaller school wishes they had the facility like the larger school has for their productions, but when you consider that the cast of the larger school's play was almost as large as the smaller school's entire student population, who would watch the play?

Remember, speak to the back row of the audience, and enunciate. Stick.

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