Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let's get back to the kids for a minute.

I've missed the kids.

Yeah, they had a show at the Corbin on Saturday (yes, the same Saturday as the Big 12 Championship—dude, I can juggle). Yes, they had a show at LHS two Tuesdays before that.

But rehearsals are different. Rehearsals are play. And even though 25% of the words out of my mouth are "can we please just have one conversation at a time" and "focus, guys!" and "shut UP," there's nothing more fulfilling than watching these smart, talented young improvisers discover how to do amazing work.

At the end of a work day like this one, I don't think I can be blamed for thinking, even kinda hoping, that maybe the winter warning would warn us off rehearsal—because at the end of a long day, sweat-pants and a big glass of wine sound really good. But the drive up and back—whether it's the regular 25-minute zip up I-35 or a 45-minute slog through big, fluffy, snow-blinding flakes—is always, always more than worth the trip.

Ed worked with the kids last week, teaching Viewpoints. So I haven't gotten to workshop with them for a few weeks in a row. I had a plan mapped out—we were going to work on starting scenes in the middle and powerful transitions. Instead, because they'd wanted to try it at the last show but weren't ready, we spent some time working on Conducted Rant (a great way to showcase smart, funny kids—once you convince them that being truthful is the funniest thing they can do).

The last part, though, was the best. Steven (an already-talented Junior who has shown unBELIEVABLE growth this year) brought his guitar and we started doing a little musical improv. Tonight, we just worked on a doo-wop opening.

The very first one they did gave me goosebumps. It brought out the best in all of them—it was just so...so...musical. Their voices blended. Each person added something totally unique. They were brave and bold and you could see in their faces that they knew it worked. We did the first one with just sounds, then made using words optional.

Here was the cool part. One of the kids missed pretty much the first two months of rehearsals because he plays soccer. I wasn't sure I could catch him up—he's missed so much of the bonding and lots of the teaching. He played his first show at the Corbin (where I'm a little easier on the rule-following) on Saturday, and totally held his own. Tonight, he showed the rest of the kids he's got something special—immediately free-form singing to the music, rhyming, making up his own lyrics.

If there's one thing cooler than watching kids grow, it's watching them learn to to trust. It's kind of...um...magical. The ride home tonight, detours and all, felt pretty short.

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