Hey Central Regioners! My name is Sarah Tomek and I’m in my second and final year at K-State. Our semester is drawing to a close and that means a lot of papers and projects for me, so my apologies for such a short post.
I can’t believe I’m nearly half way through my creative project. This year I am directing Barrier-Free Theatre, a troupe of actors with and without disabilities. Together we improvise, brainstorm, and write a play that is then rehearsed and performed. This week I am excited to hand the actors their freshly printed scripts. They’ve done some amazing work that has made my job of writing so much easier. I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on this past semester and find those lessons that I will take with me wherever I end up in the next chapter of my life.
Be persistent. Sticking to my goals has been a great starting point in lesson planning. It has shaped the direction of rehearsals and given me something to work towards besides the ultimate goal of putting on a show. And making my goals known has kept me on track and kept the group focused.
Give everyone a chance to succeed. Setting up the actors for success! This is a fairly large group of actors, but the group still finds ways to bring out the best in one another. I’ve regularly designed activities that brought out specific interests or talents. Of note are the rehearsals in which I have asked for soloists in the dance or music portions of the rehearsal. I love to see the actors confident and ready to take the lead!
Learn to delegate tasks. It’s okay to ask for help! After a hectic rehearsal in which I was leading activities and facilitating the changing of groups, I decided that I would ask for more from the volunteers in the group. I’m so glad I did. It was a self-care issue as much as it was a rehearsal management issue. I have a clearer mind when I can take my time in rehearsals.
Trust in the creativity of others. Starting the rehearsal process off with a blank slate was very intimidating. What would we write about? How am I going to craft a dozen rehearsals based on one topic? My worries faded quickly. We had pages upon pages of brainstorming ideas and in the improvisation process the details of the play emerged quickly. The actors are so invested in the work and genuinely love being there. As long as I kept myself open to ideas, I had plenty of material to work with in forming rehearsals and writing the play.
Learn to do it, then learn to be confident. I know how to work with this population, how to lead a group, and how to write and direct a play. But going into this semester, I still had a lot of worry. As I’ve gotten further into this process, I’ve learned to relax, open up to what’s around me, and own my talents as a director and (future) drama therapist. I need to remind myself that I am good at what I do!
Good luck to all the students who are in the same boat as me…and a happy holiday season to everyone else!