I was the kind of kid that would read anything. I had my favorite authors and genres, of course - I'm looking at you, Babysitters Club. Still, I wasn't picky, and I read whatever I could get my hands on. I've always been a fast reader, so I went through most of my parents' bookshelves pretty quickly.
Even now, I cannot tell you my favorite book, author, or genre. I could never choose just one. I might be able to give you my top ten, but even that would be a struggle. Different works resonate in different ways.
This love of all styles has posed a bit of a problem in my writing life.
I like to write in different styles and genres, too. I primarily write horror novels, but there is always a smattering of sci-fi or fantasy or magical realism. These genres are close enough that I can promote them in a similar way.
Here's my problem.
The other side of my writer's coin involves writing plays for middle and high school students. Very different style. Very different audience. Usually, I keep them separate. This site focuses mainly on my darker, more adult work.
Today, I am going to make an exception, and if you happen to be a director of middle and/or high school theatre, this is for you.
I have been directing middle and high school theatre productions for eleven years. My program is part of an after-school program, so funds are tight. My challenge is always to create a production for as close to $0 as possible.
This led me to begin writing plays for my students. Scripts and performance costs can add up fast, and this seemed like a logical response to my situation. It's a lot of fun, and I have amassed quite a few plays. When I realized how many I had, I decided to put them all in one place and make them available to other directors and schools. There is a minimal fee for performances and the scripts, but it is still pretty affordable. I'm thrilled to have them all in one place for the world to see!
So, if you're a director or just like reading quirky (somewhat strange) plays, check out www.schoolplayscripts.com
I'm so excited, I just had to share!
Last night was the first performance of The Christmas Spark, a play I wrote and directed for my after school theater group. The cast is composed of students from 3rd-8th grade, and it's been a crazy rehearsal process. We had five rehearsals. Five. Most of the kids are young and new to theater. For some of them it was their first play. They did a great job, and the show went really well. I'm very proud of them. They're little professionals.
We have one more show tonight, and I know some of them will be experiencing their first post-show let down. Last night, I watched another first.
The best part of being in a show is being backstage. Hanging out and getting ready for the show. The whispered jokes backstage during the show. For many of them last night was a completely new experience. I am usually running sound or lights during a performance, but I was backstage for this one. I got to watch them from across the stage, and it reminded me of my first shows. It's so much fun, and I love being able to provide that experience for kids. It's one of the best parts of my job.
I'm looking forward to tonight's performance. This has been a very fun cast, and I am excited to have so many new and talented students. Any time I start to stress I have to stop and remember how lucky I am. I love what I do, and I am so grateful for that.
My students love improv.
They don't at first. It scares them, and they shuffle around nervously and giggle. I introduce them to the game of Freeze. At first they stick to things they are comfortable with, like animals or young children. A lot of games involve running around in circles. The older kids take the lead. They're proud of their scenes and try hard to impress the newbies. They create hilarity and help the younger students feel more comfortable.
It doesn't take long for the new students to loosen up and get creative. They let their imaginations run free. It also creates lasting friendships as the students work together to create scenes.
I use Freeze at almost every rehearsal. It's a great warm-up to help them get creative and energized before rehearsing the script. It also works well at the end of a really hard rehearsal to give the kids a chance to let loose and blow off steam. There are days when I feel like we don't have enough time to rehearse and cut out the other improv games. I always keep Freeze. They just love it.
How To Play:
The students form a line across the back of the stage.
The first two students step forward and start to improv a scene. Make sure that you establish any rules/guidelines at this time. Example: No freezing a scene until it has gone on for 30 seconds.
The next student in line yells, "Freeze!", and the actors freeze in whatever position they are in.
The "freezer" chooses a student to replace and takes their position.
The chosen student goes to the end of the line.
The new pair of actors start a brand new scene.
Em is a writer, theatre director, and hiker. She likes mixing horror with magical realism and adding sci-fi twist.