Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On their own.

So Exit 16 hit a yearly milestone—a little late, but there it was. This is the first show of the year where they: 
  • Planned their own run list
  • Let the new-this-year players host games
  • Used what they learned in Chicago
After three months off performing, they wondered if they'd be rusty (they weren't). Spring is busy and there was a big choir event at the same time, so they worried about having a small crowd (it was smaller than they're used to—but would be impressive to any other troupe). Spring sometimes means "too much confidence and too little discipline," but neither was a problem. 

For the first show of the year, I can barely eat all day. I torture myself over the run list, make sure they're super-prepared and take off work early. Now, I just call the scenes and turn the music off and on. Usually we have five shows like this—being two short sucks, but I think it will help us avoid the sloppy stuff. 

The only big change left in the group will happen at auditions in May. They'll lead workshops for kids interested in auditioning one week, and then choose their new scene partners the next. It's amazing to watch the shift—especially in the first years, who get to stop being the newbies. 

At callbacks, the prospective players improvise with the returning members, who all of a sudden are in the aspirational roles. Something just clicks on—they do some of their best work in those three hours. 

It's funny to do this year after year—especially having no prior experience as a teacher. Every group is so radically different—even switching out 2-3 players has a huge impact—but they go through all the same things. And instead of getting boring or feeling rote, it's more fun every year. I know what to expect...and I really look forward to it all.

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