Monday, October 26, 2009

The very important work of the adult rehearsal assistants

We used to call them "Shush Moms," with the occasional "Shush Dad" or "Shush Grandparent." I like to call them Rehearsal Assistants, because without this much needed help, rehearsals often grind to a halt while noisy actors are called out and lectured to by the director.

I wish there were a way to wave a wand and make every child actor suddenly realize that talking backstage and in the auditorium during rehearsals is not a good thing. They are told this and many of them do their very best, by bringing a book to read or homework to finish. However, there is always a group of students who think the auditorium is a place for racing around and talking loudly to their friends. No matter how many times I tell them this, they will forget after two minutes and the noise returns.

We need quiet during our technical rehearsals so that the crew can take instructions from our Tech Director, Buffo. The actors on stage deserve quiet so they can concentrate on developing their parts. The director needs quiet so she can concentrate on all the things that need to be fixed.

This is where you, the adult rehearsal assistant comes into play. You are my roaming eyes and ears and when necessary, you give them the same directions I would give them:

No talking backstage.
Talk very quietly in the halls outside the theatre.
No running.
No eating or drinking anything other than water.
No fooling around.
No Public Displays of Affection! (This is always a problem during the musical, for some reason!)

Should a student (usually an 8th grader, because they think they know it all) roll their eyes and give you an attitude, please tell me right away. This kind of attitude must be stamped out if the students really wish to succeed in the theatre. Most theatre people I know are kind, generous and cooperative. That should be the goal of all of us working on every production.

It's a difficult job, but absolutely essential -- so please sign up to help us on this and every show!


4/5 drama students explore Stan Hywet

Gorgeous fall weather arrived for our visit to Stan Hywet on Tuesday, Oct 20th. The 4th and 5th grade drama students researched the house, gardens and the people who lived, worked and played in and around the house. They were to view everything they saw as a possible theatrical set, prop, costume and character.

They will be creating a performance piece inspired by Stan Hywet which will be performed there some time next spring.

Here the students are following a path through the woods.

We found enchanted lagoons and charming bridges as the autumn leaves began to show their colors.

Here the 5th graders are posing as if they owned the mansion. All photos here were taken by Wyatt Daulbaugh's grandmother, Bev Brown.

Would love it if someone emailed me a jpg of the 4th graders pictures!

The group climbed down the steep slope from the tea gardens to the lagoons:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Auditions 8 and up for a short film - no pay, but good experience

Auditions for a movie:

World of Difference,
Ltd. in partnership with Little Beth Entertainment will hold auditions for a short, 30 minute film, currently entitled "Flight to India," that is scheduled to shoot on weekends in February or March of 2010. The auditions will take place on Saturday, November 14th from 11am to 2pm at the Salvation Army Akron Citadel located at 190 South Maple St., Akron, Ohio, 44302

We are looking to cast the following roles:

age 12 to 13

age 10 to 13

age 8-10

age 8-11

age 30s - 40s

We are especially interested in child actors from different ethnic
backgrounds and highly encourage them to attend.

Filming and rehearsals will take place in the Akron area.

If interested in auditioning, please email resume and headshot to

For the audition, you may bring a short monologue of your own if you like. We will also have you read a portion from the script.

There is no compensation for any of the roles, but it is an excellent opportunity to practice your craft and gain further experience and exposure. The film will be submitted to film festivals world-wide as well as released on DVD and sold through

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Audition info for The Great White Hope at Weathervane

Auditions for a very important 20th century play. This one has ensemble roles for students 12 and up:

Auditions by APPOINTMENT

for Howard Sackler's Classic


SUNDAY, NOV. 8, 3 – 5 p.m.

TUESDAY, NOV. 10, 7 – 9 p.m.

Weathervane Playhouse


Call 330-826-2626 for an appointment

Run Dates: April 1 – April 18, 2010

Dir. Terrence Spivey

Be familiar with the script.

(You may present a monologue.)

Cast Requirements:
(See character breakdown below)
15 Women ages 20s – 50s
20 Men ages 20s – 50s
10 Boys ages 12 – 16
5 Girls ages 12 20- 16

Set in the early 1900s, The Great White Hope is loosely based on the life of African American boxer Jack Johnson, renamed Jack Jefferson in the story. After becoming the first Negro heavyweight champion of the world in 1908, the play follows his tumultuous career and explores the nature of racism and racial conflict in American society. In collaboration with Weathervane Playhouse, Karamu House Theater and Ensemble Theatre comes one of the most dynamic plays ever written for the American stage. The Great White Hope won the Pulitzer Prize, Tony and Drama Desk Award for Best Drama. Once it closes at Karamu, the production and some of the cast moves to Weathervane Playhouse.

Time: Before and During World War l
Place: Parchman, Ohio, San Francisco, Nevada, Chicago, London, Paris, Berlin, Budapest and Havana

JACK JEFFERSON: African American Ma le, Early to late 30’s. Based on boxer Jack Johnson, who became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908 from Galveston, Texas and was nicknamed “Galveston Giant.” He is larger than life, keen, confident and “bragadocious. Lives life to the fullest. He feels he is his own man and not ab out proving anything to any race-including his own. Note:
All actors auditioning for this role should wear a tank top underneath your dress shirt. Be prepared to move around and shadowbox.

ELEANOR BACHMAN: Caucasian Female, late 20s-Early 30s. A loving, defiant Desdemona to Jack Jefferson’s twentieth century Othello.

TICK: African American Male, Late 50s. He is Jack’s no nonsense trainer.

BRADY: Caucasian Male, Late 30s- Early 40’s. A heavyweight champion living in Parchman, Ohio.

GOLDIE: Caucasian Male, Early to late 40s, Jack’s Jewish manager.

SMITTY: Caucasian Male, 40s-50s, famous sports writer.

CAP’N DAN: Caucasian Male, late 50s, Brady’s manager, a champion of earlier days.

CLARA: African American Female, 30s. One of Jack’s longtime lovers from Detroit who thinks she is his common law wife. She is sexy and very sassy.

CAMERON: Caucasian Male, 40 s-50s. Chicago District Attorney.

MR. DIXON: Caucasian Male, 30’s-50’s. A Federal Marshall

MRS. BACHMAN: Caucasian Female, 40’s -50’s. Ellie’s Mother

MRS. JEFFERSON: African American female 50s-60s. Jack’s mother. Faithful to the church and supports her son.

EL JEFE: 40’s-50’s.

MEXICAN BOY: Young boy to teen

SCIPIO: African American Male, 30s. Very colorful character who is imbedded within the culture of his people. He is a thorn in Jack’s side about setting an example for his race.

ENSEMBLE: Additional supporting roles are available for more than thirty African American and Caucasian male and female actors of all ages, 20 who will perform multiple roles in the play; Pop Weaver, Promoters, Reporters, Deacons, Boxing Handlers, Trainers, Photographers, Weigh-In, Bettor, Roller, Civic Marchers, Church Sisters, Policemen (American/German), Deputies, Detectives, Pastors, Government Agent, Fight Fans, Jugglers etc.

About the Director

Terrence Spivey has won numerous accolades and received local and national acclaim since arriving as Artistic Director at the historical Karamu House in October 2003 after residing for eighteen years in New York City. His directing credits includes the critically acclaimed “bee-luther-hatchee,” “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow Is enuf,” “Dream on Monkey Mountain,” “Permanent Collection,” “Bourbon at the Border,” “The Fire Inside: The Story and Poetry of Nikki Giovanni.” “The Blacks: A Clown Show” and “A House With No Walls” just to name a few.

He has been featured in local media, Ebony magazine, profiled in Back Stage, Artist and Influence, TCG’S American Theatre February 2009 issue and was elected as a 2009 member of the prestigious National Theatre Conference, joining members such as Robert Falls (Goodman Theatre), Lou Bellamy (Penumbra Theatre) Ed Stern (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Woodie King (New Federal Theatre) , James Bundy ( Yale School of Drama) and many more. Spivey serves on the board of trustees at Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) and Ohio Alliance for Arts and Education (OAAE) based in Columbus. He looks forward to this exciting collaboration.

He is a theatre graduate of Prairie View A&M University in Texas.

1301 Weathervane Lane
(In the Valley off Merriman Rd)
Akron, OH 44313

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Podcasting from the Little Theatre

Podcasting is something I have been wanting to investigate for a number of years. Thanks to our principal, Mrs. Altwies, this week staff members have been able to work one-on-one with APS technology experts. They helped me set up a sound-recording system that utilizes our eMacs, a device known as an MBox 2 Mini and a very nice studio microphone designed for voice-recording. (The MBox, microphone and mic stand were purchased using DPA funds, so thank you Drama Parents!)

The MBox plugs into an eMac. The microphone plugs into the MBox, which digitizes the sound from the mic and imports it into the computer. We are using GarageBand podcasting software for our voice-over and podcasting work. It is a simple program to learn, yet allows the students to become familiar with the basics of sound editing.

All drama students will be learning how to use this recording set-up. Along with recording techniques, students will learn how to use their voices in a variety of ways. They will experience straight reporting as well as trying out a variety of character voices. The best way I have found to improve one's voice is to actually listen to it played back. Then the young actor can hear for herself if her articulation is effective or his tonal qualities are appropriate for the character being portrayed. All actors can begin to work with rhythm and timing, utilizing underscoring music to enhance the mood and tempo.

The podcast player will always appear at the top of the sidebar on this blog. You can subscribe to our podcasts via iTunes. Once I figure out how to do that, I will put a subscription link on this blog.