~By Asa Fris, McKinney North HS
We’ve all been in a play or musical where something feels off. Either you’re really tired, your voice hurts, your grades hurt, or you just don’t feel good. Unfortunately, these are signs that you are probably not taking as good of care of yourself as you should be. And with Festival just around the corner, we want you to be in top shape for the amazing weekend ahead!
Fortunately, we have some helpful tips and tricks to help prevent a lot of these problems from happening to ensure that whatever performance you’re giving is the best it can be.
As the National Sleep Foundation (NSP) says “Sleep is food for the brain.” As performers we must take care of all parts of ourselves: mind, body, and voice. Without sleep, especially as teens, we cannot maintain a healthy mind, and an unhealthy mind means a weaker performance.
Ok, when I’m in a show, I feel so tired… what can I do?
The first step is to know how much sleep you need. The NSP that only 15% of teens get the required 8-10 hours of sleep per night. And unlike losing your voice and regaining it later, lost sleep can't come back. The negative effects of not getting enough sleep will tend to remain present even if you have temporarily fixed your sleep schedule.
So what are some things I can do to help?
Have a set time to go to sleep.
Let’s say my school starts at 7:30 in the morning (which it does). That means I need to get up at 6:45, so eight hours back would be 10:45 and I need twenty minutes to get to sleep so my set time to get to bed is 10:25. I now know without a doubt if I don’t get in bed by 10:25, I’m likely not going to be getting enough sleep.
Ok, I know when I need to get to sleep by, but how do I ensure I do get to sleep by that time?
Manage your workload.
Homework. What do you do if you have homework you think will keep you up past your set time to sleep? A big culprit here is procrastination. We all procrastinate to some degree, but sometimes you need to get your work done when it’s assigned. Communicate to your teachers about times like tech weeks, respectfully asking for deadlines to be extended, or grading to be more lenient. (Don’t forget to ask your director to email the other teachers and give them a heads up about late night rehearsals!)
Be wary of other distractions
Technology like phones or laptops can keep us up, and while checking on our feeds at the end of the day can be relaxing, we can easily get hooked. Suddenly we’ve passed that set time when we need to sleep. Some methods to help with this include not allowing your phone to come into your bedroom, or setting an alarm on your phone for when you need to put it away and start to sleep.
So what are you waiting for?? Get to bed already!
Hey Kids! It’s a new March! The first and only one of 2018! And I’m very sure that we all know what that means….
THEATRE IN OUR SCHOOLS!
Woooooooooooo! A whole month of advocating sounds absolutely fantastic, and just what we need to keep advancing educational theatre all around the state, or at least it feels that way until you stop to think about all that advocating and how exactly you’re going to do it….
Don’t worry, we all can feel like that sometimes. Fighting for the cause can be a daunting task, and when you try to tackle it head on without a plan, you can get a little lost. FEAR NOT, however, because we’re here to do the best we can to help you keep that fighting spirit!
The first step is to give you guys the tools for advocating, so keep up with the blog during March to get some nice and easy ways to spread awareness and love for educational theatre. See, I’ll start us off!
One of the cool things about educational theatre is that one of it’s many uses is to.. You know… educate! So take the initiative to spread some amazing and kind of weird facts about theatre around your school! Maybe your school has an announcements broadcast, get it on there! Or Maybe find an empty space on the wall to tape them up daily for all passerby to see!
Here’s a couple facts to get you started:
DID YOU KNOW THAT...
1. ‘Theatre’ comes from a Greek verb meaning ‘to behold’
2. Shakespeare's Globe is the only building in London allowed to have a thatched roof since the Great Fire in 1666
3. Two seats are permanently bolted open at the Palace Theatre for the theatre ghosts to sit in
4. William Shakespeare once had to play Lady Macbeth when Hal Berridge, the boy playing her, died suddenly
5. Walt Disney World, Florida, has a record 1.2 million costumes in its theatrical wardrobes
6. Theatre has a longstanding history in America. The first theatre here was built in Virginia in 1716, 60 years before the Declaration of Independence
7. When Shakespeare’s Globe burned down in 1613, the one casualty was a man whose breeches caught fire; they were put out with a bottle of ale.
8. Thespis is the man first credited with the role of an actor, he stepped forward from the greek chorus to portray a character (giving us the name thespians!)
9. In May 1849 the Astor Place riot broke out in New York and it was caused by two actors arguing over who was better at performing Shakespeare.
10. The word ‘tragedy’ comes from a Greek expression translating roughly to ‘goat song’
11. Ancient Greek audiences stamped their feet rather than clapping their hands to applaud
12. The oldest play still in existence is The Persians by Aeschylus, written in 472 BC.
13. World Theatre Day has been held on March 27 every year since 1962 when it was the opening day of the “Theatre of Nations” season in Paris.
14. The original concept for West Side Story was East Side Story where a Jew and a Catholic fall in love.
15. Saying "Break A Leg" in the theatre didn't start until the 1920s.
16. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic The Phantom of the Opera is the longest running Broadway show of all time.
Best of luck, and remember - ADVOCATE AND APPRECIATE
Please be sure to tell us all about your ways of advocating by posting about it and tagging us or contacting us directly!
Alright, get ready, because we’re about to talk a bit about the dances here at TTSF!
We have two this year, and they’re both going to be fantastic, but in order to make them an even better and more spectacular fantastic, we need a little help from our lovely thespians.
THURSDAY NIGHT: A Tacky Tourist dance! Wear your best dad attire and enjoy the night as start the celebration for adventure!
FRIDAY NIGHT: Two-Can Toucan dance! Step into the jungle for a bit and go wild at Friday’s dance… AFTER you give us two cans to donate to the Tarrant Area Food bank!
But more on that in a moment.
While we’re at the dances, the main thing we have to remember are the rules of the festival. Dances are for a good time, not a get-your-entire-troupe-in-huge-trouble time! Every single rule that applies to all day when you are running around to workshops, shows,and whatnot STILL applies at these dances. And if you need a reminder, you can find those all attached in the button at the bottom of the article! Or talk to your troupe officers! They should’ve attended the president’s meeting on thursday morning, and should be able to give you all the rules that were presented at the meeting.
About the Two-Can dance! The Tarrant Area Food Bank is always thankful to us for providing enormous donations, and it’s because of your cans that we can do that. The Thespian Society is focused on helping everyone around us, and this is a really easy way to make sure that someone gets a meal, especially this close to the holiday season, we want to continually give!
And for both dances, we really want to make sure you guys actually enjoy the music, right? So there’s a twitter account for you to request all of the best music. @ttsfdj Tweet at them! Message them! And seize the opportunity, because you can’t complain if you don’t request! ;)
So dress up, bring your cans, request your beats, and follow the rules!
We’re excited to see you!
As you know, there’s a TON to do at festival. There’s never a dull moment...
BUT sometimes it can get overwhelming when trying to figure out your schedule! So, if you're a little unsure of what you plan on using your time for, we’ve created a nifty guide of what’s hot this year:
Events are our cool little competitions we have at festival! We compete with everything from group musical numbers to individual stage management. Unfortunately, if you didn’t sign up before the 13th, I’m afraid it’s too late. But if you are signed up, GREAT! We wish you the best of luck!
Workshops are something that everyone can participate! These are cool little classes/demonstrations that you can participate in during the 60-90 minute time slots we provide for you! They can range from wild stage combat classes to a funky and fun learning of a popular musical theatre dance! They’re a blast, and there’s no need to sign up for them. Simply find the one you’re interested in in guidebook and attend at the right time! Guidebook is a nifty app we use for festival that will go live much closer to the actual event, read more about it below.
We have a variety of shows to enjoy at festival, such as play marathons, a mainstage musical, multiple mainstage plays. They’re hand picked to be presented to you, and that means that they are guaranteed to be a fantastic watch. See the titles here:
The talent show is a cool at festival event where anyone can sign up to perform for anyone who attends the talent show. We ask that you have something prepared ahead of time, but you can’t sign up until you get to festival. More information below:
Something new we have this year is that we opened auditions for students to participate in a performance during closing ceremonies. They will be choreographed by 2 time EMMY nominee, Tony Smith, and they’ll get to perform with Mamie Parris, who’s starring in Broadway’s Cats! If you don’t audition before October 16th, you’re out of luck. But you can still enjoy the show! More info below:
You can also spend money at festival! Our vendors are fantastic and come through with anything from spike tape to Scripts! Everything for your theatre nerd dreams! Preview who they are here:
We’re trying something else new this year… Buttons! We have 4 different buttons for you: “Adventure Awaits,” “Texas Thespians,” “Dusty the Duck,” “STO.” You can buy the first three from our STO table (and lots of other neat stuff as always,) But the last one, the STO button, you can only earn by being a leader and having an STO witness it. But, we do want you guys to bring your own troupe buttons to pass around and spread good times with!
We can’t say much about this one but.. Check out the STO table ;)
Hey Texas Thespians!
My name is Elam Blackwell and I want to share just a little bit about how being a Thespian has completely changed my life.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking… “This is the most cliche opening he could have for this article” “Everyone says theatre has ‘changed their life’” “It's been like 2 paragraphs and he still hasn't said anything worthwhile.”
Well you would be correct. Theatre has changed many people’s lives for the better. But I want to tell you about an adventure theatre has taken me on, to our nation's capitol.
“Great. Now he’s trying to tie in the whole ‘adventure awaits’ theme.”
Back in June, I went with my troupe to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska (the most exciting town in the US). There I became an International Thespian Officer (or ITO), which basically means I get to travel around the country talking about how theatre is super amazing to a bunch of people! The first trip I went on was to Washington D.C. this past July, and oh what an adventure it was!
In D.C. I got to advocate for theatre on Capitol Hill! I was a part of a group that went around to talk to senators and representatives about passing a budget that gave more funding for the arts. It really was surreal to be able to walk into Ted Cruz’s office to talk about theatre! It was an amazing experience that I wish everyone could have.
But I could have never done anything like that if it wasn’t for getting involved in theatre. In that way theatre has expanded my world farther than I could have ever imagined. So my message to you would be this: Don’t be afraid to take risks. Because risks are the best way to begin an adventure!
And now for some shameless self-promotion:
Follow me on twitter: @ITOElamB
and follow the International Thespian Officers on:
Facebook: International Thespian Officers
Also follow the Texas Thespians on all social media!
Twitters: @texas_sto @texas_thespians
If you’re here, on this beautiful website, taking time to read this article, my guess is that you already know WHAT high school theatre is. The rushing around in the wings, the smell of hairspray in clouds, the bright lights and loud clapping of friends and families. You’re probably involved in some way, or want to be at least. Which is fantastic. But the big question that not only are we asking, but that school districts everywhere are asking, is WHY do we do high school theatre?
Now, I could give you the obvious answers. You know that surface level stuff. Trust me, you’ve heard them before, it’s filler answers like ‘it’s fun, entertainment value, etc. etc.’ but those reasons are not the cause of so many changed lives. A high schooler doesn’t blossom into a leader simply because they had a “good time”. It’s something more. It’s gotta be something that is recurring because we’ve had theatre since 532 B.C.E. This growing community of artists is not a trend. It’s an established way of life. And I’m pretty confident in saying it’s because of three things:
If you’re not in high school right now, you’ve been there. We all have. It’s a required rite of passage to adulthood, but boy, what a rough one it is. Approximately 20% of teenagers will experience depression before adulthood. That’s a serious number of children affected, and while theatre can’t cure depression in any way, shape, or form, an important part of every teenager’s development is their self-esteem. Self-esteem that normally takes a dark turn in high school, a time when everyone is comparing themselves to everybody else. Now wait, you might be thinking, Theatre is all about comparing yourself to other people. That’s the point, right? Auditioning and competing for roles and positions of power backstage, how on this green earth is that supposed to HELP with our esteem? It helps because it’s not a fight to the death, it’s a competition with support, that, at the end, finds a place for everyone to contribute. And it’s that contribution that you fought to give, that is appreciated by a house of people clapping for you, and a community that has been built around you, that lifts up each and every individual.
This is a big world. This world has so many people in it. People have so many different ways of life, beliefs, and cultures. The beautiful thing about theatre is that it produces not just shows, it creates a story. And more often than not it’s based on the history around us. Students participating in any show are learning about the world and people around them by actually becoming a part of whatever story they are portraying. Theatre is important, “because it shows you how to interact with and be a more cultured individual.” (Rachel Meltzer, S.T.O.) Rachel puts it perfectly. Because not only are you becoming a more cultured person, you’re learning to communicate and coordinate with everyone around you by respecting where they’ve come from, which is super important when venturing out into the real world after high school, whether it be in theatre or not. And technicians as well receive a huge wealth of knowledge from all the work they do and the skills they learn to prepare them wherever they go.
Nothing connects you closer to the humans around you than to study and portray them on stage. Actors have to delve into the roots of emotion and accurately show the wide variety of personalities and situations in our world. We all know the phrase ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,’ but that becomes quite literal when you put on a costume for a character. Hearing about a tragedy and actually having to research and be a part of the tragedy are two completely different things, and they both evoke two completely different reactions. Kids in theatre feel more deeply for those around them because they are forced to feel all sorts of emotions for their respective shows. Theatre, “teaches empathy to those that need it the most.” (Elam Blackwell, STO and ITO) Empathy is so important in all aspects of life. It builds deeper relationships and helps you connect in situations like job interviews, helping those in need, and one day having a family. (Whatever kind it may be!)
Theatre is the pinnacle of so many kid’s lives, not only because it’s fun, but because it’s build character, not just the ones you see on stage. The way that this community builds teenagers up brings people together in way that makes them stronger than ever before. It creates a need to work, to share, and to be a part of the world. It’s passion, pure and simple, and our education system needs it.