Arts in the Family: A Family of Artists Just Trying to Make a Living in the Wilds of Texas


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Moon #1

We were sitting out front this evening near ten 'o' clock when I took this photo. It was a very bright moon and quite beautiful.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Fruits Of Our Labors- Bitter and Otherwise

They said it couldn't be done. Pammy orchestrates a pyramid!

Pammy spent the last two months teaching the kids from The Academy of Fine Arts at St. Phillips College how to put on a good musical theatre show. During those two months of preparation for Tales from Norway, all of Pammy's experience and skills came into play and were put to good use. Along with fine tuning her student's performing and acting abilities, she worked to build up their confidence, taught them some slapstick (circus style) and some basic acrobatics too. 

Pammy's teaching philosophy has always been to guide students to go beyond their comfort zone, to take chances and be unafraid of failure so that they not only grow as performers but as individuals as well. Their performances this past weekend demonstrated that they were up to the task and should be very proud of their accomplishments.   

Showtime! The kids look great and so do our masks.

Pammy with her crew and great cast of kids.

When there was a problem getting the funds soon enough to build a set piece and costume pieces in time for the play's opening, Pammy and I spent our own money in order to accomplish that. We felt very strongly that the kids deserved to have the best possible sets and costume pieces and we weren't about to let them down.

Pammy choreographed a fun tango-type number for the farmer and fox.

Big props got laughs for us as Ringling Brothers Circus clowns and the big bacon strip got laughs in the show. BTC, baby!!! Big time comedy! Thank you circus experience.

Pammy had  lot of fun choreographing the big "Pancake" dance number.

Pammy's students were all very talented and have big dreams like this young man who would like to become a director. We're certain he will be a very successful one.

Pammy wanted the bridge and troll mask in black light paint and it certainly made a big difference. Plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" from the audience! It's details like that which add so much to a scene. So above is "before" and below is...

..."AFTER"! Let's  hear an "oooh! and an "aaah!  Details!!

Curtain call. A job well done.

Last year's show, which Pammy didn't direct, was done in front of a closed curtain. The kids performed without the benefit of a stage or special lighting. Pammy worked very hard to get the stage sets and props but also for the special lighting effects like the "gobos" and the blacklight. Without her efforts the show would have looked very different.

 It was a musical theater class. They were there to learn. So, she felt the kids deserved to have as close to a full-fledged stage production experience as possible. Given the limitations and difficulties she encountered during those two months and dealt with in a professional manner, Pammy delivered 100% for the kids.  

When you teach a theater class like this one, that culminates in a performance, there might be a tendency to think that because the performers are children presenting a children's play that the "bar" is expected to be lowered.

Sometimes the teacher/s might also assign roles in a play based on no other reasoning other than that's what the child wanted and so is given the role. The philosophy is "Give the kid what he wants and tell the kid what he wants to hear." What good can possibly come from that? And what will a child learn from such a teaching philosophy? Pam doesn't think like that.

Sure, it would have been very easy and certainly less stressful, for her to simply settle for the bare minimum of effort for the production. She could have done without the five masks, the 3 pairs of hoove costume pieces, the over-sized bacon prop,the munching sound effects recorded at Raining Popcorn Media (Thank you Mr. Avila), the bridge and house set, not mention the work time spent at home doing the unseen tasks involved in a teaching a musical theater class and then putting together a show.

So much work and stress. But Pammy loves what she does. She loves theater and teaching and doesn't like to short-change anyone especially the students and their audience. I hope they appreciate it.    

Stick A Fork In It!!

The show has closed!!! Wheeeeeee!!!!!! Photos to be posted later.
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