This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Opening Night!

Opening night...........make-up, jitters, excitement, anticipation, costumes, malfunctioning sound system, anxious parents, missing props..............the curtain goes up!
And there I am in the "director's pit," biting what little is left of my fingernails, and praying that nothing goes wrong! But suddenly the stage is filled with smiling faces, all singing and dancing their hearts out. They're projecting, they're remembering their lines, they're helping each other......THEY'RE HAVING FUN!!!!! I'm caught up in the story, mesmerized by the children's performances, silently mouthing lines and song lyrics.......and there are tears running down my cheeks. WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!
The story of "Little Orphan Annie" has come to life on my tiny school stage. Forty-two children, ages 9-13, have gone from a tone-deaf, stumbling, mumbling, jostling, goofing around "mob" to a tightly-knit team, working together and moving in sync with each other. It's nothing short of a miracle!
This is why I become so dismayed when I read about arts programs being cut in our schools. I have children in my cast who joined Drama Club because their parents made them or because their best friend signed up or because they dream big.... and suddenly, these children discover they have TALENT! I have kids who are so shy they can barely squeak through an audition yet they get up on stage and suddenly something in them opens up and out comes this amazing singing or speaking voice. I don't know who is more startled.....the kid or me! I have one child who has such a bad stutter that, even at 11 years old, he barely speaks, even to classmates he's known since he was 4 years old. He wanted to play Sandy, the dog, in the "Annie, Jr." (our current production) so I scuttled my plans to use Jelly the beagle and gave him the part. He plays it to the hilt and last night the audience was howling at his antics on stage! It's given him confidence; he's found his "voice" without having to use his voice. Amazing.
Not every child is going to be an athlete yet every child (in my opinion as a parent and teacher) needs to learn how to work as part of a team. What's a good marriage? A team.
What makes a good employee? Being able to work as part of a team. What is a family? A team.
When I cast a show, I tell the kids up front that not everyone can be the lead character but EVERY ACTOR IS IMPORTANT TO THE SHOW because we are a team! I tell them that I can have the most talented actor in the world for the lead but without the ensemble, the star will have no show! And I tell them that they can make their part uniquely "theirs" in some way - they just have to use their imagination.
I don't think kids today use their imaginations very much. It's tough to get them to see that theater is all about magic and illusion and thinking outside the box. That's important in every day life, I think. We may not always have the answers right in front of us; there isn't always a user's manual for every situation in which we find ourselves; we might not always have the right tool for the job so we need to improvise........
Team work. Imagination. Creativity. Let's keep the arts alive and well!

Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. Vince Lombardi

(Did you really think I could go too long without quoting Lombardi?? LOL)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! I'm off on vacation next week and am looking forward to visiting all my most favorite historical sites......Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg...........I imagine I am part of them 300 years ago.....(Once a drama queen, always a drama queen......LOL!)

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