Monday, April 2, 2012

Play of Awesome: Part One

Finally the long awaited Play of Awesome posts! My school's drama department just finished a fantastic journey that a few short months ago was nothing more than a crazy idea.

While we were still working on A Christmas Carol, we (the Advanced Drama class, that is) began thinking of things to do for our spring production. Since the beginning of the year, Mr. Benson, our drama teacher, read the Book of Awesome to us at the beginning of class to de-stress us from a long day at school and to loosen up for acting class. The book quickly became a tradition and everyone wanted to read from it. And when wondering what to do for our spring show, we suggested that we do the Book of Awesome!

Mr. Benson emailed the author, Neil Pasrisha, (you can read his super cool blog here!) asking if we could have performance rights (and whatever other rights we needed) to create this play. A mere seventeen minutes later he emailed us back giving us full rights to the show only if we did an awesome job and send him part of the play.

After that, the next few months were total insanity.

This was going to be a completely student run show. Mr. Benson was the producer, to oversee things, but the students directed it and wrote it and blocked it and casted it and everything. I was put in charge of the set, and together we brainstormed for the color scheme and overall look of the set. We wanted to have a black and white scheme to match the scheme of the book (the copy we had was not one of the ones with color on it). But then I got the idea to have super bright accent colors, and after we purchased extra copies of the book (the ones with color on it) I just had to laugh at how ironic it was that the book had bright colors on it! Score!

One thing that we wanted to do to make this show different from any other show was to incorporate video into it. Matt (my boyfriend) did an amazing job directing and editing the videos for the show. We called this a theatrical cinematic experience, and what an experience it was!

The hardest part I think was actually writing the script. The book is set up into different monologues, so to speak, so the bulk of our show was going to be filled with monologues. Honestly I thought at first that the show would be not that great because I thought it would be us giving a whole bunch of disjointed lines, but seemingly unrelated monologues evolved into a full length play complete with a story line. We poured over the book, picking out our favorite topics and trying to string them together, and eventually it turned into a "day in the life" sort of play. Oh man I wish you guys could have seen it!

Here's the basic story plot: It's Mary's birthday, and we all have to buy presents for her surprise party. In the meantime, Caleb gets left behind and everyone forgets about him until he shows up to Mary's party cold and wet from the harsh Alaskan winter; and Mary thinks everyone forgot about her birthday. The play follows Mary, Caleb, and then the group going to the mall beginning from everyone's morning until we are all together at her party. And all throughout the day we experience little awesome things like peeling an orange in one shot, or the five second rule, or couch forts, or licking cake batter off the beater. I'm still amazed at how elegantly it all flowed together.

Not only did the script flow together, but the cast was seriously the best possible cast ever. We became our own little family in this world we built (and outside it) and I love these people so much. I'm still not fully believing that this play is over. I think it's my favorite play I've ever been in and people have been saying it's the best play our school has put on!

Another challenge was the stage itself. We've never performed on the chapel stage, but I think it was for the best because it makes for a more homey feel than the big stage.

Weeks before the show I was making pillows to make the set even better, and the day before we were adding even more color to the flats to make the set look its best.

Stay tuned for even more play of awesome posts!

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