Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 2: Macedonian Mayhem and More

I finalized my class schedule this week. I'm officially taking a class in independent record production, and auditing the introduction to producing an engineering class. The class I'm officially taking is really small- there's about a dozen of us- so even though the coursework is more challenging (it has homework, the other one doesn't) it seemed like the right choice. This was completely reinforced by Tuesday's class, where in our into class a boy showed up and made a huge scene. He was an hour late! You'd expect him to try to sit quietly in the back. Instead, he inexplicably unpacked a snare drum, and paste anxious around half of the classroom, until finally the professor asked him to sit down. He kept interrupting the professor to "ask questions" that were really monologues, about everything from the producers who've cheated him, to his amazing dedication and all-consuming belief in his abilities, to the fact that the mayor of Boston apparently recruited him? Oh yeah, and also, he is a Macedonian popstar.

Obviously his reliability as a narrator is questionable, so I look forward to finding out more about him, like his name. But he was definitely a character and I am excited to have him in my class.

Also this week I took a three day trip to a friend's wedding in New York. Because I didn't have to come back until Monday morning (sabbatical bonus!), I got to see two shows on Sunday. My college acquaintance Stephen's play, The Humans, won the Tony for best play this year and all I 'd been hearing was that it was the best thing since sliced bread. Having finally seen it, it was excellent, but I think I preferred his previous play, Sons of the Prophet. However, the highest compliment I can pay is that the play was nearly 2 hours long, and it didn't even occur to me to check my watch once!

I also saw school of rock, the musical. As a musical, it is not very good. Most of the songs are forgettable, and you can see the movie for $8 so why would you pay almost 100 to see what is in most ways exactly the same? The answer is that although the play has some flaws, the difference between watching kids put on a rock concert on your television and being at the rock concert, Live, is just as powerful as the difference between listening to a CD I'm going to any other rock concert. Except 1 million times more heartwarming and adorable. So yeah, I loved it.

And it was interesting to watch and think about how the journey of the main character embodies a journey of the artist. What let's Dewey go from zero to hero is that working with the kids inspires in him both generosity (he quickly realizes how talented they are and puts that center stage) and passion (he starts actually working really hard to teach them) and give him a sense of self. Knowing who he is helps him to see who they are and bring them out.  I'm pretty sure those are some of the biggest keys to success in the arts that there are.

Also, we finished the new webpage for drama! I am very proud of it, it looks awesome. www.bigelowdrama.weebly.com.

Week two: I'm getting the hang of it! But definitely haven't hit my rhythm yet.



Monday, September 12, 2016

Sabbatical, Week 1

Dear choruses, family and friends,
Well, I did it. Sabbatical, week 1. Here are some things I did not do in the last 7 days that I thought I might while on sabbatical:
-start exercising
-go crazy from boredom
-binge watch tv
-magically start cooking 4 course meals

Here's what I did do:
-learn how to use weebly and build a brand new website for the drama program
-develop brand new online forms and packets for the drama program
-develop a bunch of teaching Shakespeare activities
-create my first rehearsal calendar
 -support several of my 9th graders
-attend 2 different classes on producing and engineering at Berklee and decide to take both
-try to take a class at BoCo and fail
-figure out health insurance and how it works
-throw a goodbye party for my outgoing drama teacher
-check in on the Froshcabinet
-hang out with a bunch of friends

Although the very first day was scary (changing routines: not my strength), I've been super busy ever since. And while people keep teasing me, like the Bigelow parent I saw as I left school yesterday, who said "I think you're doing sabbatical wrong," I realized today- I'm doing it RIGHT! The purpose of my sabbatical wasn't to never lay eyes on Bigelow- it was to free up enough time so that I could figure out how I WANT to fill my time. And the answer is- I love learning and doing new things. And I love teaching Shakespeare. And I love creating things, be it forms or websites or rehearsals.  And I've been doing that all week. So I think I'm getting the hang of sabbatical.