Today we said goodbye to our first tour experience. We had some obstacles to overcome with this group. Because Monday was a holiday, we didn't get to start working with the kids until Tuesday. This put us a day behind our usual rehearsal schedule. We had a small group of kids this week, which presented some logistical challenges. Our production can feature up to seventy children, and the script contains lines for thirty different characters. We also had quite a few kids under the age of eight, some of which don't yet read proficiently. Another challenge arose when we learned that some of our kids were enrolled in the baseball camp that was taking place during our rehearsals. This caused five of our younger cast members to be absent for one hour toward the beginning of rehearsals before they would return and one of our older boys would leave for the next hour. Despite these potentially frustrating challenges, these children weren't going to let their show suffer because of logistic obstacles.
My partner and I really got to work on our spur of the moment decision making skills, and did our best to make sure these kids had a great show that they could be proud of on Saturday. We double-cast quite a few of our kids, and combined the extra roles to make the show work. We also re-choreographed routines and adjusted our blocking.
Words cannot express how amazing these kids are and do them justice. Our older girls really stepped up to the plate, and helped wrangle little ones while Joseph and I worked with the other kids. When their groups were waiting to rehearse with us, they took the little guys out to the cafeteria and helped them with their lines. The kids who were double-cast did an awesome job staying on top of their lines. Let me remind you, they had FOUR days to learn this hour-long show, and we had to keep them moving at lightning speed. When the final performance on Saturday arrived, was everything perfect? No. Is live theatre ever really perfect? No! Our kids went out there and did their very best. Lines that had been missing the day before in dress rehearsal, were suddenly delivered with confidence. Dance numbers that had mistakes before were clean.
The parents, sponsor, and staff were all very welcoming and kind to us. They made sure we were always taken care of. The two teachers who were there every day to help with the kids when needed were fantastic, volunteering to help with lines when kids had rare down time. These two ladies also ran our sound and lights, and knew what to do with little assistance, making our lives that much easier.
Although we had hiccups along the way, we had an amazing first week. The entire community was extremely supportive and seemed to enjoy the show immensely. Several parents approached us and thanked us profusely for our work with the kids. They told us that we did a great job, and that they were amazed that we accomplished so much in such a short time. My honest answer was that we couldn't have done it without the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of their children! We can show up and teach them what they need to know, but it's up to them to take the information and apply it. These kids took it and made it into a spectacular show. Congrats guys!