Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pre-K Play: The Mysterious, Haunted, Spooky House Full Of Hearts

On Sunday I posted about the process of creating our Pre-K play. Yesterday came the script and details about the creation of our props and sets. Today, I present the video of our play.

Our play always takes place on the Wednesday before Memorial Day, the second to the last day of school. We began our day as usual with indoor free play, but as the time approached I quietly let the actors know it's time to get ready and one-by-one they slipped away to the backstage area where they were met by parent-teachers who helped them don their costumes. This is a part of the process we had discussed the day before and they were looking forward to keeping the play a big surprise.

The rest of us continued playing, cleaned up as usual, then convened on the blue rug for circle time. After a couple songs I asked, "Hey, were is everybody? Some of our friends are missing." Once we'd named our missing friends, I told them, "The 5-year-olds have a surprise for you today," and we all filed in to take our seats in the audience.

Typically, by any objective artistic standard, what the children have been rehearsing on the stage for the last few weeks leading up to the performance, including the dress rehearsal the day before, is a mess. I mean that in the post positive sense possible, of course, with the children still freely exploring the stage, the sets, the props and the material, even as they are "performing," creating each time a dramatic version of "preschool gray." Ah, but for the performance itself, with the advent of full costuming and an audience, the children are usually "scared straight," focused, and ready to hit their spots. This year's group didn't adhere to this pattern, however. Their last few rehearsals actually were relatively polished and they came into the performance relaxed and confident, so much so that the Rainbow Butterflies still carried on their usual buzz of conversation throughout the play, Panther got "lost" in making faces at himself in a mirror offstage and had to be gently jostled from his reverie to respond to his cue, and several of them still jumped off the stage to rescue their paper airplane bats from the audience. A few of the parents told me their kids were nervous beforehand, but it didn't show on stage at all.

When the play was through, bows taken, and questions answered, we enjoyed cupcakes together. The younger children then took over the stage, props, costumes, and sets as I again read through the script, giving them a chance to re-enact what they had just seen their older classmates do, inspiration that will last into next year.

Our tradition is to call this the "last day of school" for the older kids, finishing with a simple bridge ceremony. When they return tomorrow, the official last day of school, it will be as "visitors," while the younger children have now become the new "Pre-K kids." 

I didn't want to distract from the performance by mentioning this before you'd watched it, but I really want to point out the terrific, almost invisible work of our stage crew: Sylvia's mom Toby and Sadie's mom Medora. They rehearsed right along with us. This is how cooperatives work.

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1 comment:

Amelia Mello said...

Hi Tom. My name is Amelia Mello and I am one of your new followers. I love your blog. This play is soooo adorable. I like it that the children did everything. You seem to be such a light in the life of those kids. Congratulations!

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