Teaching

Re-Story Theater 2014-15 & Your Art-filled Summer

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  “Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.” -from a poem by Alan Alda   My H.S. Drama One class has ended and in a great way—a melodrama by Craig Sodaro, “Wait ‘Til The Sun Shines Nellie”! It’s been fun to see timid, apprehensive, quiet students blossom into confident and capable actors and servant-artists.  And for those that possessed drama skills already, there was a refining of them that may have even surprised them. We are all different after this year of Drama One. RE-STORY THEATER 2014-15! Next year, I am bringing my troupe—Re-Story Theater—back to life.  And I have decided it will be a H.S. troupe, supplemented with young adult and sage and crafted actors.  Could there be a better partnering—teens and crafted actors? I am convinced H.S. people need a place to rise above what we think they can do.  At the H.S. level there’s an offering of classes, a musical, the night of one-acts, or a dramatic play, but where do we send H.S. people to train and grow as actors… actors that want to give a sacred message away? I think there is a need for a Re-Story Theater troupe of high school aged actors. My desire is to have a team trained in improvisational theater which will perform shows with their partnering seasoned actors on a regular basis.  As skill and time allows, we will work sketches into these shows. Who knows, we may supplement the shows with other skills and talents such as music, dance, art.  We will see what God brings to our team of actors… My other hope for this team is that we will produce a Christmas play, to be performed in December of 2014.  I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but when was the last time you watched a production where teens were the main storytellers?  Right.  I couldn’t either. If you are an interested teen or you are the parent or friend of a potentially interested teen (and living in the L.A. area), go to my website page where there are details and full description of Re-Story Theater  – http://rightsideupstories.com/re-story-troupe-membership/. Let’s talk!  Feel free to send me an email or give me a call, too. My contact info is on that page. Homeschool parents are often looking for a Drama elective for H.S. credit.  There is a strong possibility that we, together, could make this work for your son or daughter. The rest of us will wait, with anticipation, for news about Re-Story Theater!  You will be the first to know about it… Make it an Art-full Summer! I hope the summer that has begun will be bathed in stories.  Make a habit of visiting the public library on a regular basis. Look for their summer reading program for children. And libraries have air-conditioning! Why not see a play or a musical, visit a museum, or an art gallery …how about taking an art class,...

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Shakespeare & The American H.S. Drama Student

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“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” –William Shakespeare   Remember way back in August when I shared of how I would be teaching a H.S. theater class, once again?  Every Friday, I teach a group of 15 H.S. students. It’s been a good year, so far! And a very stretching one for all of us. For me, it has been the reusing of old muscles and building back strength.  And for most of my students it has been the building of new muscles. They’re a wonderfully creative group of teens.  Some are timid and shy, some are bold and outspoken, some are in between those two extremes, but all of them are willing to risk self to step into character and story.  They are my favorite blend for a class. They are all growing in their knowledge of theater and they are growing as individuals.  And I am doing my best to stay just a bit ahead of them! Sometimes, I just want say, “FREEEZE!” and stop the class so I can capture the moment. Facial expression is one of my favorite ways that the actor communicates on the stage. Some of my treasured facial expressions, from a teacher’s POV, have been the surprise of discovery, the “I did it!” and my personal favorite—“I have a better one in me, Mrs. B.” In April they will take their skills to the stage and we will do a play within a play kind of show.  The show is entitled, “Shakespeare & The American H.S. Drama Student”.  Dear Shakespeare is mentioned in several of our comedy sketches, some of his best monologues are shared along with other great theatrical works such as Shaw, Twain, Wilder, Hugo, Miller, Williams and a few poets and storytellers thrown in for good measure.  We are hoping Shakespeare will show up (wink-wink)! The information is listed here on my website and tickets for the two nights are available in my store.  The ticket price (very low) includes a delicious coffee and dessert too (Click Here for Tickets). High School students are worth our investment of time as they give away from themselves in sports, speech and debate, music, art, and theater.  It’s always nice to walk across the street, so to speak, and support another school’s efforts in the arts. Come join my students (and me) on April 11th  or 12th  (Buy Tickets Now). God bless the Story you’re living out today!...

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Workshops Shape Vision and Bring Hope

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In a culture that can’t seem to find its common narrative, we found one as we risked embarrassment, misunderstanding and fear as we shared our own personal stories that day…   My January Storyday—“The Power of Storytelling and Spoken Word”—was powerful and meaningful for its participants, including its speaker-teacher. Every age was represented, from teenager to senior. We gathered up from central California to San Diego, and added Kansas and South Africa in for contrast and depth.  It was seven plus hours of teaching, partnering, discussions, coffee, lunch, coffee, media, and some writing and gathering onto paper what began to come forward like butterflies needing a net. I, once again, witnessed the way workshops shape and shift the participants. Workshops affirm and clarify goals and direction. They create a synergism—a community of like minds and hearts come together.  Workshops bring hope and future to the doorstep of our lives.  The knock is so loud, you can’t help but let it all in.  And what a bunch of stuff it leaves on the living room floor! However, you do find a way to sort it out later. Several participants from the Storyday have shared of their sorting.  I am in awe of their steps to use the teachings, promptings and encouragement. All credit goes to them. I have participated in many writing and storytelling workshops.  Some felt like big fat commercials for the speaker-teacher.  And then there were those that I took to heart and I went home and applied them to work and ministry. They are so familiar to me, still. I can remember the room, where I was sitting, and these moments where personal stories and application brought the teaching up close and personal. The knock on my door was loud, very. One of the decisions I made at my January Storyday was this—I will do more Storydays and I will do them more regularly. I have two that have come to mind: “Developing the Artist Within” and “The Creative Process of Writing—Finding and Keeping the Tools Sharp”.  And I am thinking early May. Send me some feedback on these please.  I’d love to know your thoughts. More to come on this. Until then, may the story you live out today change someone. I know it can…...

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MOVING FROM LABOURER TO CRAFTSMAN TO ARTIST

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He who works with his hands is a labourer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist. —Saint Francis of Assisi   This was the first quote that I wrote on the board for my Drama One students.   It went in their new and empty Actor’s Journal.  It’s a composition book where they are to relate their growth, challenges, ah-hah moments, and general thoughts about being a student-actor. It’s also a place they log their rehearsals.  And, from time to time, I will collect them and check them.  Mostly, to see if they are thinking and processing.   I think their Actor’s Journal will prove to be a great measuring stick for where they were in September of 2013 and where they will have ended up at the close on our class in June of 2014.   I have decided that I need to keep a journal as well, for I am growing as a teacher-coach.  I am spreading my wings creatively.  I am working hard as a teacher.  I had forgotten how much teachers do for their students. The prayers and hopes that go into preparing for each teaching moment are immeasurable.  Teachers are awesome people!   To be honest, not every student is as interested in the subject of drama and really don’t care that it very likely will change their lives.  “Hey, I am just fulfilling elective credits… Seems like an easy A.”  And that’s really okay.   What they don’t know yet is what I know—a theater class changes people.  My H.S. theater class changed my life.  Mrs. Cooney, my theater arts teacher, changed my life.  It was my senior year of college and a required class for the musical.  From then on, theater was a part of my life… and eventually, my ministry and calling.   In fact, taking an acting class, a theater course, an improv or storytelling workshop changes a person. In a 3 hour evening class or a 6-8 hour workshop day, amazing things happen in a person. One leaves a class/workshop euphoric, hope-filled, and bursting with creativity. I know my students have grown some dendrites, made some friends, and for some, they have found the found something powerful—the artist within them.   I am going to be leading a Storytelling and Spoken Word (…for the Artist, Speaker, Teacher, Preacher)  Workshop, in January  25th, 2014, at my studio in Sierra Madre, CA. It you’re interested in this class, could you email me today at melea@rightsideupstories.com and I will get you on the information list and you’ll be the first to know the date and all the forthcoming details.  Come take a creative and artistic leap with me!   And remember: “He who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist.” (St. Francis aka Giovanni Bernadone Morosini!)  ...

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Heading Back to School…and Back to the Classroom!

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I said, “Yes.” Yes, to teaching Drama One to high school people, once again. I am excited about this. I am nervous about this. I am qualified for this. Are teachers better teachers years later? Yes. Why? Because of accumulated knowledge and tons of practical experience. I have never really stopped teaching. I lead workshops, coach and mentor artists, direct and produce shows. Plus, I have raised a teen and I am raising a teen. Teenagers no longer bring fear and dread as they once did when I was about 26 and 38 years old. They bring compassion to my soul. And that compassion makes me want to be a better teacher because they are worth it. Really? Really. I may have more gray hairs and few more laugh lines, but I can improv my way out of a paper bag and out-imagine most teens and young adults I know. So bring it! My goals for them: Drop the phone. Make a friend you’d never have outside of this class. Experience learning by doing, rather than facebooking and instagramming it. Dare yourself to play a character outside your age, your choices, your emotions and first instincts and see what happens. I can promise them they will not be the same people in 8 months. I know I won’t be the same because of them. ********************** When was the last time you went backwards to go forwards in your gift, your calling, your passion? That’s what I am doing. I am brushing off files, pouring through books, preparing lesson plans, a syllabus and curriculum objectives, searching for scenes and monologues, developing lecture notes. And it doesn’t even feel like work! And I am lovin’ it. I will check in with you later about all this. And I will let you know when my students start performing. Once I get them going on Improv, they will likely want to join me in a workshop. Which reminds me, a Fall “Improv a Story” Workshop date will be set very soon! As always, the story you live out today just might change someone… Melea   PROFESSIONAL STORYTELLER Website A Network for People Who Work in the Field of Storytelling http://professionalstoryteller.ning.com/ 24-7 Storytelling Station on-line called “A World of Storytelling” http://www.live365.com/stations/storytellingradio .  They kindly feature some of my stories and hundreds of other famous and nearly-famous storytellers from around the...

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