Creative Ventures (Winter 2013)

TaPS – Theatre arts Programme Symposium

istaOn October 16th, Marsha Yalden, Rachel Ollagnon and Elisabeth Moore took 33 11th and 12th graders from Sturgis East and West to New York City to attend TaPS (Theatre arts Programme Symposium) a workshop for teachers and students of IB Theatre. Sturgis students participated in three full and intense days of training with IB Theatre students from North and South America, Europe and the Middle East. Each evening, they attended professional theatre performances. The three accompanying teachers attended Professional Development workshops and chaperoned our amazing students around New York. Having the opportunity to work and connect with other IB Theatre students and teachers was an inspiring and enlightening experience. The group returned home late on Saturday night. Lots of fun and little sleep was had by all! And we can’t wait to do it again!

Marsha Yalden (left) in a workshop for theatre teachers

Marsha Yalden (left) in a workshop for theatre teachers

The following article was originally published in Sturgis Storm Watch, 17 Nov 2013 and is reprinted here with the author’s permission.

Trip to the Big Apple a Big Ball of Fun for Sturgis Theater Students

By Daniel Souza, Class of 2015 

Last month, a group consisting of combined Sturgis West and East IB Theater students traveled to New York City to attend three plays and three workshops over the course of four days and four nights. I was one of the students lucky enough to be on this trip, and to be completely honest, they were one of the best few days of my entire life.

Times Square, New York City

Times Square, New York City

The first thing that struck me about New York was the sheer size of the city. As this was my first time in Gotham, I had no idea what to expect. I was no stranger to cities, having previously visited urban areas such as Detroit, St. Petersburg, and Boston, but none of these could even be compared in size to New York. Arriving at the St. James Hotel at night, and with our hotel being only a block or two away from Times Square, I quickly realized that there is a reason that New York is often referred to as “The City That Never Sleeps.”
Before going to the Big Apple, I had always heard that it was full of opportunity. It was a place where somebody could really make it big. And oh, of course, the celebrities. Well, I found the “New York is crawling with celebrities” statement to be quite true, as I was able to see stars such as former Minute to Win It host Guy Fieri and actor Orlando Bloom, and I was nearly able to go watch Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill in the musical Once.


Needless to say, what got everybody excited for the trip was the fantastic list of shows we would be seeing. Only a couple of hours after we had settled in New York, we headed out to go see our first play, Fuerza Bruta. Now, for anyone who does not know what Fuerza Bruta is about: it’s alright, I had no idea either. Upon walking into the performance area, my immediate impression was that I was in an environment quite similar to that of a rave. All of us Sturgis students, led by East senior Geronimo Kelley, danced to the modern music played before the performance, and while the area was certainly cramped, the atmosphere was so high-energy that it did not matter. With dance music playing the entire time, we experienced getting hit on the head with styrofoam by the actors, watched a man walk on a treadmill above us, and observed four women sliding over a thin layer of water on the ceiling and making faces at us. By the end of the show,

Sophia Braddel with actor Christian Camargo

Sophia Braddel with actor Christian Camargo

we all became completely soaked by water which had fallen like rain from the ceiling after the finale. That led quite a few people to buy Fuerza Bruta t-shirts on the way out of the theater, avoiding the extremely wet ride back to the hotel on the subway, which I experienced myself.

The second night, we went to go see a performance of Romeo and Juliet on Broadway, the beautiful and and age-old story of two star-crossed lovers, which was especially popular among the ladies of our group. But when you throw in Orlando Bloom as Romeo, that’s when you notice more than a little bit of excitement in the female population. Yes, Orlando Bloom was the one to pull onto the stage on his motorcycle in this modernized version of the original play written by William Shakespeare, musing over the beautiful Rosaline to his best friend, Benvolio. And yes, it seemed like a Justin Bieber concert in the theater the moment he took off his helmet and shook his long, flowy locks.
But enough about Legolas, or Will Turner, if you will. The first half of the show was superb, as I quickly became wrapped up in the portrayal of Mercutio by Christian Camargo, who has also appeared in The Hurt Locker and Twilight: Breaking Dawn. In fact, I felt that Camargo’s performance was superior to Bloom’s and this is why I felt that the second half of the show was extremely dull in comparison to the funny, exciting first half. Curse you Shakespeare, why did you ever have to kill off Mercutio?!          Overall, the show was definitely entertaining, and the choreography and fight scenes were well-coordinated. However, I felt as though the second half of the show simply dragged on without something to keep the audience from falling asleep. Perhaps this had to do with my lack of interest when Orlando Bloom jumped on-stage shirtless after a “well spent night” with Juliet, but still, that is no way to make a show interesting.  I certainly did not complain when Sophia Braddell and I were able to get a picture with Camargo after the show, running back to our friends screaming in joy. Considering the excellent first half and the chance to shake the hand of such a great actor, I found the show very worth-while and refreshing at times.

Hundreds of people wait outside Richard Rodgers Theatre to get a picture of Orlando Bloom

Hundreds of people wait outside Richard Rodgers Theatre to get a picture of Orlando Bloom

On our final night, we were able to go see a brand-new musical, Little Miss Sunshine, based off of the 2006 movie starring George Kinnear and Steve Carell. The show was performed at the Second Stage Theater and starred actors such as Stephanie J. Block, Will Swenson, and Rory O’Malley. While I am quite a fan of O’Malley, who is best known for his role as Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon, I had very mixed feelings about this show. While much of the play was very suitable as a children’s show, centering around a young girl from New Mexico who wishes to win a beauty pageant, it also featured more mature humor, from adult innuendos to profanity to cracks on violence.
Although the show had it’s funny moments and definitely showed Rory O’Malley at his best, I felt as though it tried too desperately to connect with a wide audience, making jokes suitable for young children, immature teenagers, and even full adults. In trying to make the connection, the show seemed inconsistent and had no ability to completely connect with any sort of audience. It simply felt as though it was not appropriate for anybody. Despite this, I greatly enjoyed the talk-back which Sturgis students were allowed to partake in after the show, giving our advice to one of the directors on what we thought worked in the show and what did not work. This was a valuable experience, and while the show ended up being a bit disappointing, I can understand that considering  it was only its fourth performance, it is still on its way to having a great run.
The New York trip proved to be amazing, and while we did have excellent workshops which we attended every day in New York, what really made the experience unique for me was the opportunity to see great professional actors and actresses working together, and showing us how successful actors handle themselves on-stage. We were able to enhance our own acting talents by observing what works and what does not work in productions. And if I learned anything about how to be a brilliant actor, it was this: be Orlando Bloom. Always be Orlando Bloom.

Anna Botsford, Jackson Fryer and Marsha Yalden

Anna Botsford, Jackson Fryer and Marsha Yalden

84, Charing Cross

In July, three Sturgis favorites starred in the Cotuit Center’s production of 84, Charing Cross,  a dramatization of business letters between a young struggling writer in New York and an antiquarian book store in London. In a sense, these are also love letters. They are about the love of good literature. The play takes place over a twenty year period, beginning in 1949 when Helene Hanff (played on Broadway by Ellen Burstyn and in Cotuit by Marsha Yalden) first writes Marks & Co. and ends in 1969 with the death of Frank Doel, the delightfully dusty supplier of so many old volumes to Helen who has shown her gratitude through the years by sending “care packages” to the staff of Marks & Co.

bostonmarriageBoston Marriage

In October, Anna Botsford had a starring role in Boston Marriage at the Cotuit Center. Considered one of Mamet’s most richly rewarding works, as well as one of the funniest plays of recent years, “Boston Marriage” is a fast-paced and deliciously inventive verbal sparring match between two women, Anna and Claire. “Commanding, quick-tongued Anna, played by Cathy Ode, and desperate, impulsive, but determined Claire, played by Anna Botsford, are in a complicated relationship.”

Cape Cod Today, October 1, 2013
http://www.capecodtoday.com/event/21737-cotuit-center-arts-presents-boston-marriage
 
%d bloggers like this: