Sunday, October 24, 2010

The show must go on.

If you read my post from a couple days ago, you know that one of the things that kept me busy that week was the school play.   I don’t teach drama, my responsibility went to the Stage Crew department, I’m in charge of the crew.

Our drama teacher is quite creative and came up with the idea of a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater for last week and this week, right before Halloween.  One of the great things about the abominable building I teach in is that the cafeteria has it’s own small stage, which allowed us to present the play right inside the dining area. 

The play takes place in 2010, this year, on a cruise ship named the S.S. Enchantment.  As the guests enter the cafeteria, they are greeted by the captain, the cruise director and the servers offering h'ordeuvres and drinks (just water and lemonade, it is a junior high play after all) and welcomed to the ship.  Once the guests are seated the play starts, the plot introduced and then dinner is served.  During the dinner, the cast mingles with the guests, dropping hints and giving clues to what is going to happen.  After dinner, the plot thickens, threats on life and limb are made and then we get another break for a game of bingo.  During the bingo game, two of the characters are murdered and their bodies are set in strategic spots in the building.  After bingo, the play resumes, the missing cast members  are mentioned and foul play is implied.  The remaining cast pairs off and each pair takes a table of guests and leads them through the building looking for clues, and finding the bodies.  Everyone meets back in the cafeteria, the guests are given ballots to see if they figured out who killed who, and who has the cursed amulet (I’ll explain that in a second) and then the play goes on while the servers tally up the ballots.  At the end the three guests who got the most correct answers get a prize, a 2” plastic sword.

The plot of the play is simple.  Cruise ship director finds amulet, the captain reads the inscription (in French) on the back  and a group of pirates who were cursed in the  1700’s are brought into 2010.  Pirates take over the cruise ship, battle amongst themselves and in the end are, by the power of the amulet, sent back to the 1700’s.

The kids were fantastic, they and the play are entertaining and funny.  The play requires them to improvise and they did quite good at that too.  The actor playing “Salty Pierre” got quite a few laughs when the bingo spinner broke on him and he did a little improv thing about it.

The only bad part was when the drama teacher got a call from home right at the end of the first performance, with the news that her husband had had a heart attack and was in the hospital.  Last thing I had heard was he was out of surgery and doing well, although she was not there for the second performance.  Thanks to the PTA parents, the cast and the stage crew, all of who knew what needed to be done and did it well, the second performance went off virtually without a hitch. 

We have two more performances, Tuesday and Wednesday this week and as of now I have no idea if the drama teacher will be there.  It’s good to know that the PTA, cast and crew have their jobs down well enough that if she needs to be with her family, she won’t need to worry about the play.


Mustang Sally said...

aw ... Thanks for sharing that story. Love the photos esp. the ones of the shadows on the backdrop, very creative.

I hope the Drama teachers husband recover quickly. That the show has indeed gone on and the crew has done so well demonstrates that she's very good at her job.

You can tell her virtual strangers are wishing her husband well and keeping them in our prayers.

Max said...

Thanks, I'll let her know. And you're right, she did an incredible job teaching those kids.

A Paperback Writer said...

Is there an assistant director? There should be, even if it's a kid with adult back up for discipline.
But you're so right; the show goes on, just like in real theatre.
I learned this at 17. Three of the kids in the children's dance group I was in had a father dying of leukemia. He knew he was near the end, but he'd sent his youngest son to perform at Oktoberfest with us to get him out of the hospital room. We were lined up to go on stage, with Evan right behind me, when a Snowbird employee came to get Evan because his father had died.
It was a stupid thing to do. The employee should've waited a few minutes until the performance was over, since the man was already gone and Evan couldn't do anything about it. But they took Evan away, right in front of all of us.
Of course I teared up; we all did. We'd all known the man and liked him. But our teacher, a fierce Russian woman who knew her business, came over and angrily said, "No tears now!! You get up there and you GIVE!! The audience does not need tears! Give!"
And we got up to smile at the audience. No tears were shed until we finished.
Time and time again I watched this happen. My then-husband broke my toe on stage in England in 1996. The show went on-- and so did I. The stage in Spain had a 2 foot hole in the middle of it. the show went on. My ex-husband deserted me a couple of weeks before I was in "Pirates of Penzance." But the show went on -- with me in it.
Our former student Shawn learned he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma while he was doing "Guys and Dolls" with me. Shawn went on -- and is still going.
Those kids in your cast are learning a HUGELY important lesson out of all this: in life, sometimes you have to put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Just because something bad happens does not mean you fall apart and desert your responsibilities.
I'm sorry for the drama teacher and her husband, but good for all the rest of you teaching the kids this important lesson.
Oh, and the dinner theatre play sounds cute. :) (We're doing "Once Upon A Mattress." I have no clue what it'll be like as it's not for a couple of weeks yet.)

Max said...

So I check my email this morning and there are 5, count 'em, five, comments from Writer. Seems blogger was messing with your mind, eh? Because all of them came through just fine, as far as I can tell.
I think one of the mother's was the backup director, with the food serving and setting up there were a lot of mothers around. We also had a father there who was in charge of the makeup. But the good news is that her husband is doing well, still in the hospital because for observation. And Sally, she almost came to tears when I told her that there was someone out there in the blogosphere wishing her husband well.

A Paperback Writer said...

Sorry about the comment fiasco. I figured they were really going through, but I kept getting those stupid error messages.
Thanks for your patience. Glad for the good news.

Max said...

No problem. I've been there too, getting various error messages and not knowing whether the comment went through or not. But at least it got through!