4 Things YOU Can Do to Help Your Child Succeed in Theatre, by Christopher Blair
You can’t study geography without a map. You can’t build a house without a hammer. You can’t rehearse a play without a script! The script is the textbook, the raw material, and the pencil is the tool. They allow your child to record their blocking, choreography and character notes in one place. It’s not like homework; it doesn’t get turned in and graded. The scribbles and notes only need to make sense to the child writing them. This practice is a great way for a child to make the production personal to them, recording their unique journey through the play. This will solidify what they are learning and help them get off-book at a much faster pace.
I have never been good at sitting down alone with a script and memorizing lines. Acting is usually an interactive process with me. I need someone else there to read the other character’s lines so it becomes a true conversation rather than just a series of words and sentences. Having a person there to be “on book,” to complete the conversation or to correct errors, will help young actors get “off book” more quickly. It is nearly impossible to truly act if you are trying to remember the line. Offer to help. Enlist a family member or babysitter. I have a line buddy who helps me with every single production. He is an invaluable asset.
3) Encourage healthy eating and sleeping habits
An actor’s body is his or her instrument, and it has to be cared for and fueled properly. There is no energy drink on the planet that will ever take the place of a good night’s sleep! This is one that I struggle with as an actor. It’s so much easier to throw back a cup of Starbucks than it is to get a solid 8 hours of sleep, especially during tech week! Fast food is fast and convenient, but 9 times out of 10, it’s just a bag of empty calories that burns away quickly leaving us less energized and focused than when we started. We all need good rest and fuel to make our bodies, voices, and brains work properly. Encourage your children to rest during tech weeks and performance weekends, and encourage them to eat healthy, fresh foods that will provide them with the clean energy they need to get through a show.
4) Encourage them to trust their director
The director is trying to put on the best show they can! Doubting the director’s choices, especially early in the rehearsal process, can make things stressful for everyone involved. The director must consider all aspects of the production in each scene (the story, the cast, the budget, the space, the multitude of personalities involved), and while their vision may not be clear at the outset, it will eventually be brought to light. At SCT, we encourage young performers to share ideas and visions with their teachers, but we need the students to trust that we will make decisions based on the best interest of the show as a whole. Your trust is vital to our success!