Friday, June 13, 2008

Episode 18: Lock Up Your Kids!

Horror Show is now peddling a "Summer Theatre Forum." Of course, it's not really a forum (a public meeting to talk about public issues); it's actually cluelessly ill-conceived classes for kids. I guess she doesn't know what "forum" means... but all things considered, that's not really a surprise, is it?

This "forum" is under the auspices of the Ivory's Kids On Stage program, a name she half-stole from Robin Berger's Leaping Lizards On Stage, from back when Robin had agreed to work with her. This is a program Horror Show has been running ads for since last fall, even though it has never yet even existed -- mostly because she expected Robin to do all the work for her (which is a longstanding pattern with Horror Show) and Robin has run away from the Ivory along with everybody else.

At a recent performance at the Ivory, Horror Show distributed these amateurish-looking packets, just sheets of paper stapled in the corner, to promote her summer program. On the front page they say, "All KIDS ON STAGE students will learn theatre arts and technical stage crafts and will also be a part of the FINAL SHOW PRODUCTION on August 3rd -- MAKE A WISH -- at the IVORY Theatre. Register for 1, 2, 3 or 4 weeks of strong and professional performing arts instruction at the new IVORY Theatre. It's an exciting way to meet new friends with similar interests, work with caring theatre professionals while experiencing theatre arts." Then in bold, italics, AND underline, it says "Don't miss this opportunity!!"

Holy cow! That sounds like a threat! And will someone tell her the term is "stagecraft," not "stage crafts." We're not talking about macaroni pictures of comedy and tragedy faces... or are we? Also, why is "IVORY" always in all-caps? Is it an acronym for something? Like maybe "I'm very obnoxious and a real yahoo"...?

The best part of the packet is A Brief Synopsis of a "Hands-On" Performance Program (also bolded and underlined, though not italicized this time). When you read this, you'll swear I'm making it up because much of it doesn't make any sense, but this is really what she wrote. Notice how much she loves using meaningless quotation marks. Here it is, exactly as it is in the packet, clumsy punctuation and all:

KIDS ON STAGE combines the artistic skills of acting, music and dance in a theatrical environment in order to assist and provide young people with a more defined approach to:
-- Positive Behavioral Understanding;
-- Good Decision-Making Skills;
-- Situation Analysis;
-- Comprehension and Appreciation for the Arts.
-- Character Building and Self-Esteem

In today's society -- community violence, peer regard, television/movie products, computer accessibility, divided homes and educational difficulties have led our youth into great confusion concerning their life path and the choices they need to make in order for it to develop into a productive existence. It has become increasingly more difficult for young people to advance in positive directions due to their lack of understating and analysis of situations and people in their community and what they "perceive" to be their surroundings. Young people start out with the same dreams, hopes, and aspirations as Mozart, Mick Jagger, Kennedy, Whitney Houston, Stan Musial and Ted Drewes; however, their path is much more confusing today and it demands more decision-making skills.

KIDS ON STAGE is a theatrical program that takes all theatrical art forms such as acting, music, dance, costuming, lighting, set design, and group management and utilizes them for the benefit of providing a fun and accessible learning product and experience for youth. This theatrically artistic vehicle is able to mirror a set of circumstances that are pertinent yet detached from the student, introduce conflict and complete the process with positive resolution thereby introducing the "actors/students" to alternative ideas, behaviors and patterns that will lead them to positive life-long productivity and happiness -- as well as be great fun.

Theatre skills and the artistic use of music can successfully combine thereby introducing the support platform of "audible" emotional control, inspiration and association. For example: It may be disturbing to combine a picture of a delicate flower with a drum solo -- the flower is usually associated with "beauty" as well as supported emotionally with the lush sounds of strings, piano and harp. These same types of pre-conceived, learned associations are prevalent in daily life. Learned concepts are found within family groups, educational classroom settings, and basic society structures. They are around us daily and have increased dramatically with the complexity of our society -- yet the definitions and positive decision making skills have become cloudy and young people are lacking in their understandings.

KIDS ON STAGE program takes a positive step toward combining theatre arts and the youth of today and allows the young people to learn to make mistakes as well as have experience successes without the dangers of permanent punishment or failure. By utilizing the strength of "Make-Believe", that is common to all young people, we can shape understandings, encourage their desire for achievement and assist them with their daily living units such as the family and school to make a continued positive impression that is laced with skills that will carry them throughout their lives.

Please peruse the following brief structure for the KIDS ON STAGE Workshops. We feel that all young people enrolled in the program will improve their concentration and focus skills as they continue to draw from their imaginations. The students will also understand that all "projects" are formed through the collective efforts of many people with many different types of skills. The IVORY Theatre is an excellent example for the students in order to expose them to the power of lighting, sound, direction, costuming, set design, music and backstage help. All work as a fine tuned engine -- one is never more important than the other.

Theatre is team attitude, team efforts, team support, and team achievement. Thank you.
I don't know what "permanent punishment" is, but it sounds like something you could find on Cinemax late at night. Also, I think young people can "learn to make mistakes" without anybody's help. In fact, that's always been a specialty of young people, hasn't it...?

Horror Show is offering six different classes, all Monday-Friday for four weeks, which she'll never be able to fill. The class descriptions are so funny and illiterate that I have to quote them too. She's heard a lot of theatre terms but doesn't exactly know what they mean or how to use them... Notice the meaningless use of quotes again in the last description...
Acting for the Stage, ages 7-10. Learn to create characters in a story, become familiar with staging and acting directions and play a role in the... (Builds character and self-esteem.) Final Performance. (Snacks included.)

Acting for the Stage, ages 11-14. Learn to create characters in a story, become familiar with stage phrases and directions and play a role in the... Final Performance. (Snacks included.)

Acting for the Stage, ages 15-17. Character analysis, scene blocking, presentation and projection, performance and role understanding -- (Great college prep course.) Final Performance

Technical Theatre, ages 12-17. Assist with designing professional lighting and sound systems for final performance project with professional designers. (Students learn that all "roles" are valuable in all endeavors.)

Music/Vocals, ages 9-16. Professional music instruction -- reading and voice. Be a part of the IVORY's Children Chorus! (Great fun!)

Contemporary Dance, ages 9-16. Special workshop studying "dance" from 1700s to date. It incorporates the music, dress, styles and "reasons" for movement in human society. (This is really educational and great fun.)
Did you know that the 1700s were "contemporary"? I did not. And why are "dance" and "reasons" in quotes? Did someone say those, or is she being sarcastic? Also, me personally, I think it sucks that the older kids don't get snacks. If I was 16, I'd be pissed!

Sic Semper Tyrannis!
An Ivory Survivor