New Horizons Newsletter
LEHS Theatre, August 2014
It can be a challenge to keep up with what is going on in your high school student's life. This year, I'll be helping you celebrate their Theatre successes by sending home what I hope will be a monthly newsletter highlighting their awesome activities and keeping you abreast of important class and department dates. Once I sort through my students' media permissions information, I will be able to include pictures from class, too. For some students, this may be the class in which they truly shine and I want to be able to share that with you. Even for our Theatre I students who may think they are "just here for fine arts credit," there is so much more going on. This year they will learn a lot about themselves and practice collaboration and presentation skills that can support them for the rest of their life.
Rachel M Carothers
I am the Director of Theatre at Little Elm High School. I have been involved in theatre education for more than ten years and in making theatre since I was a tot. I hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from College of Santa Fe, and am also an alum of New York University’s Experimental Theatre Wing. I have taught in school districts, in children’s and teen theatres and have conducted workshops independently. My theatre experience ranges from grunt tech work, design, front of house management, communications/publicity, and, of course, acting and directing. I continue to work as an actress and improv performer today. I believe theatre’s role in our society is as a place of communication as well as entertainment and it is a place for students to learn about themselves as much as it is a place for them to share with their audiences.
So far in Theatre I we've spent time going over classroom expectations and setting up the different kinds of technology we will be using in class this year. For example, every student will set up a class blog through kidblog.org where they will journal and explore theatre vocabulary. But I've snuck in some surprise learning, as well. Everyone performs and presents right off the bat. We play games from day one in which their creativity and performance ability are encouraged. And they've created and presented "All About Me" projects. A LOT of Theatre I students say their biggest fear is getting up in front of other people, but they've now taken the first steps to learning how to stand up straight and speak confidently in a presentation setting.
In Theatre II, we are setting up all the same technology as Theatre I. Students here will also be blogging and creating mini-skits. Then we move into a refresher course in basic acting. All students create basic, 30 second duet scenes so I can see how well they understand concepts from Theatre I like objective, plot, conflict, risk, etc. My goal for Theatre II is to expand their understanding of Theatre history and script analysis, and also to significantly further cement their acting skills. When they leave here they should be able to create a performance that accurately communicates the author's intention. They will learn how to utilize peer and audience feedback to perform/communicate more effectively.
In Theatre III/IV we are also setting up the same technology. Then we are starting off the year with some basic theatre maintenance. Based on student interests and abilities, they chose a project in our department. One group is redesigning a wall to be used for functional brainstorming and creative planning. Another group is creating an organizational system for costume and fabric storage. I will definitely get pictures of the finished products! While we are waiting for our supplies we've been working on Method acting techniques, using acting exercises designed by the great Konstantin Stanislavsky.
These students blasted through setting up their new technology so we could start reading our first play on day two of class. We read Bertolt Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan and then auditioned and started rehearsal. It's quick, but is an amazing way to start the year off for everyone involved. This year Productions and Advanced Technical Theatre both are in the final class period of the day, so we are looking forward to optimizing our class rehearsal time and being able to work together more closely as a department.
Dates to Remember
October 2 - Antony & Cleopatra at Addison Circle Park if you signed up to go
October 16, 17, 18 - The Good Person of Szechwan performances
October 21 - NACAC Performing and Visual Arts College Fair, 7-9 p.m., Irving Convention Center, register at www.gotomypvafair.com
October 22, 23, 24 - Thoroughly Modern Millie auditions
December 1 - semester play reviews due
Mrs. Carothers (and Cai & Adair) and Mr. Aprea are looking forward to a great year!