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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Collaboration.

“Whether he likes it or not, a writer for the stage must face the fact that the making of a play is, finally, a collaborative venture, and plays have rarely achieved a full-scale success without being in some manner raised about their manuscript level by brilliant gifts of actors, directors, designers, and frequently even the seasoned theatrical instincts of their producers.” (Tennessee Williams)

The question is frequently raised, “what is true collaboration?” And similarly, in the theater, who makes up this  “collaborating team”  this “dream team” and is it necessary for a successful production? Let us begin with vision, a production process has to start with a vision. Melissa Silverstein says, “Keep fighting for your vision...your voice counts. Your vision matters.” It is important to initially set the stage with a clear vision and purpose for how you plan to tell the story. Once this is established, communication can start to flow. This is where the playwright, director, and designers and begin effectively collaborating. If it is not purpose driven, it is simply like drawing circles in the sandbox!
If the playwright is a part of this collaborative process, as Tennessee Williams wrote, “he will listen, he will consider; he will give receptive attention to any creative mind that he has the good fortune to work with. His own mind and it’s tastes, with open like the gates of a city no longer under siege.”Ok, I know you, as the reader, are quite possibly laughing at this quote thinking “you have never met a playwright before!” It is true that playwrights can be contrary individuals when coming to others tweaking and prodding  the inner workings of their masterpieces. They can be quite opposed to the group’s collaborative efforts, dare I dub them, opinions. But, if the baseline of trust has been established in the room; a simple two-way communication system set into place that the playwright can feel a safety in the created group. 
After vision questions such as, “How does that tell the story?” and “Does that fit the vision?” Then the actors become involved. If the actors are not on the same page in rehearsals, and are holding back ideas or lack in the shared vision, they become obstacles. Obstacles are what stop communication, and communication has to happen in collaboration. This does not mean “everyone agrees all the time!” It means people are wrestling with ideas and tackling the story from different angles and verbalizing them. This means the actors are in the scenes with each other, and when they are not on stage they are watching, thinking, grappling and discussing with the director and the designers ideas about how to draw the audience into their world. This is true collaboration. It involves conflict, and disagreements, talking and listening which are all essential for creating value. “Theatre is a communal art, “ as Mamet said, “it’s for all.” We must simply, “Trust the collaborative process as art.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Masters in Theatre

I've been feeling very reminiscent about teaching this week. We started this new book in one of my grad classes "Master Teachers of Theatre" and it stirred up a myriad of emotions hidden inside of me. I love teaching. I love directing. I love acting. I love making music. But there is something about teaching that is built in me, as if my insides are hard-wired to "assume the teacher identity," in some capacity.

Teaching, for me, is about being forthright and sharing myself with the people in the room. Being humble enough, on the daily, to ask inner-Abigail "did that work for the people or just sound good in your head?" Teaching is about creating a safe haven for my students to feel freedom in their own skin, allowing for mistakes to be made, while demonstrating strong character and encouraging them to be the best version of themselves. It's about classroom management- yes, I actually like classroom management!- the challenge of being better because students want to be in that room, in that moment, learning about what I'm passionate about. Being a teacher forces me to grow up. I have to be in charge. I have to constantly be learning new things, but I'm also constantly learning from other people- which is awesome. Growing up is where it's at, without those four years in public education, I don't know where who I'd be right now!

Anyway...Graduate School is a whole different kind of growing and stretching. It's a whole new ballgame over here. I'm so happy for this change, I know 100% that it's the right one. While I loved teaching, classroom wasn't the right fit for me, this is EXACTLY where I'm supposed to be right now. BUT I'm completely out of my comfort zone right now, WHICH IS GREAT, because that's where I like to live life- makes for SO much more growing up. (Even if it means I'm scared out of my mind half of the time.)



Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Year: Lessons

Hello!

I have been getting a lot of e-mails about private lessons. I am still teaching!  My schedule is very tight this fall because of graduate school, but I still have openings. If you are interested in taking a private voice lesson e-mail me at abigail.vanpatter@gmail.com and I'll set you up.

If you are interested in Wizard of Oz audition prep lessons- I have a few openings left, please contact me ASAP.

If you are interested in WORKSHOPS with ATA we are listing them this week the website and I will update them on here...

If you are interested in the THEORY WORKSHOP. That will be offered every other week on Saturday mornings.

Thank you,
Abigail.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Music Listening Bee


If you want to come see a Sweeeet Music Listening Competition, you have three opportunities to come out and see! Guilford Elementary School-Check in at the office and get a Visitor's pass, be sure to do so a little early, since the compeition is only 45 minutes long we have to start on time :) Hope to see you there:)

May 27 (Tuesday) 11:05, GYM. Ms Jolly's Class and Mr. Isley's Class

May 28 (Wednesday) 11:05 GYM. Ms.Adams Class and Mr. Cotterman's Class

May 29 (Thursday) 11:10 In my classroom (this will be tight, but we'll make it work), Ms. Foster's Class
 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Music Listening Bee

Oh my word Y'all. 

I can't even tell you how proud I am of my 3rd graders at Guilford Elementary School. They are the Smartest, Cutest, Coolest kids in town- and they are gonna stinking ROCK this Music Listening Bee's SOCKS off. They have worked their little behinds off in class and let me tell you, it is paying off because they know this stuff so well. I am BEAMING in class when I play a piece and say, " Name this musical Era" and Student X says, "BAROQUE!" I want to burst at the seams it's just the best feeling in the world. So if you are a third grader and you are reading this right now, know that I am one PROUD MUSIC TEACHER. Y'all have worked hard and well and I am very pleased :)

Working in teams to find the answers to the questions. Team three was KILLING it. This was a Musical CandyLand game that I made up- simple concept. Team draws a card, they can progress to that color is they can answer the music questions. I play a piece, they have to answer one of the three questions, "Composer, Title, Era" of the piece. If they get it correct they progress. If they get it wrong, the next team takes the color.... only one person from each team can answer, they really have to work together, and know the answers. It's a great game. SUPER proud of them.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Three Piggy Opera

We are working on our own Three Piggy Opera (First Grade), which I think it just the cutest little mini musical.
This is the best little montage I found online to show my kids what it will be like to get them excited :) They are going to perform in class in front on their parents as a sharing for the end of the year. This is a great way for me to say goodbye to teaching for a while too, since I'm leaving GES for a full time Graduate School Program.

 
Silly Symphony fun
 
Love these oldies

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DIY Mini Erasers

I have been on a student whiteboard kick, using them for informal assessments and loving it. The only thing that was annoying me about them is that I was having the kids use paper towels as erasers and they were leaving them on the floor and I hate when my room is messy. So I decided to make some student erasers today. I cut up an old cardboard box and some left over bed foam I had from making crate seats, and hot glued them and decorated. Then I place one in each of the "under the chair" boxes I made out of paint liners. SO easy and convenient. 

First just cut up some old cardboard and foam.

I put glue on the "messy side" so the other side I could sharpie decorate

Attach the foam.

Cut off the extra pieces

Press down to make sure it's stuck for realz.

Then I added their seat numbers and just scribbled on the edges for decoration.

And Voila. Done. I'm very pleased with the outcome.