Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sleepy Bear's Book Club - ROOM ON THE BROOM

Hi Book Buddies,

I'm too scared to dress up in a costume and go trick or treating. But I'm not too scared to dress up my whippy cream! It's a ghost. Yum!

I have the perfect book to go with my afternoon ghosty whippy cream on top of hot cocoa, too. It's called ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson. This is a super fun book to read because it rhymes. Do you know what that means? Well, it's when the ends of words sound alike.

Here's the beginning of the story, it goes like this:

The witch had a cat
and a hat that was black,
And long ginger hair
in a braid down her back.

Cat rhymes with hat and black rhymes with back. Books like this are great to read out loud. Now you try it.

I'm going to read the next page. Hey, I have an idea, let's see how many words we can find that rhyme. You can use this book or a different book you have at home.

Check back later and we can share.

Bye for now,

Sleepy Bear

Sleepy Bear Invites Kathleen to Blog about ZOMBIE CAESAR

Hi Theater Friends,

Happy Halloween!

Guess what? My reading and writing teacher, Kathleen, saw the play, ZOMBIE CAESAR, at The Bathhouse! Zombies are too scary for me. I stayed home with my cup of hot chocolate and whippy cream and a Halloween book. Kathleen will tell you about the show.

Thank you, Sleepy Bear. This is quite an honor to write on your blog.

Intense Drama, political intricacies, captivating monologues, and complex characters all come together on one stage at The Bathhouse in Green Lake. That would be true for almost any production of a Shakespearian play, but what makes this performance all the more unique and special is that the cast is a group of 11-14 year olds!

ZOMBIE CAESAR takes place in the late 1950s – early 1960s but the language is authentic iambic pentameter of Old English. This version takes another turn from the original when zombies come to life after Caesar meets his fate at the other end of Brutus’ fake knife. Yes, this performance even uses stage blood! Sleepy Bear, good thing you stayed home for this one. The Zombie makeup was a tad bit too real even for me! Add to that the sound of thunder and rain and lightning illuminating the sky at just the right intervals and you have the makings for a perfect show for a Halloween weekend.

Hats off to Shana Bestock, for directing the cast from self-written character bios to an engaging live performance. Unfortunately, there is only one more performance. They all deserve a longer run for their dedication to each other and the art of live theater.

Parents, gather the older kids for a fun Halloween afternoon at The Bathhouse Theater. The final performance of ZOMBIE CAESAR is today at 2pm, and the tickets are free! I look forward to seeing more productions by the
Youth Program at the Seattle Public Theater.

Sleepy Bear, back to you.

Thanks, Kathleen! Sounds like a good show, except for the super scary parts.

Friends, check back later today. I’ll tell you about the Halloween book I read. It was scary enough for me! It’s called, ROOM ON THE BROOM by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Bye for now,

Sleepy Bear

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sleepy Bear Brushes Up On His Shakespeare!

Hi Friends,

Yesterday I got to visit another rehearsal for a show put on by the Youth Program and the Seattle Public Theater. This one is called ZOMBIE CAESAR. It's a Shakespeare play that has been changed a little bit so now it's a Halloween play, too. The cast is a group of kids in 5th through 8th grade. And they are really good! But, I have to warn you, it's a little bit scary and a little bit grown-up for kids my age. It would be perfect for an older brother or sister to enjoy.

Here's a picture of two cast members in costume. Wow! They're just a little bit older than me. Oh, and everyone was "off script" for the entire rehearsal. Sometimes the Assistant Stage Manager, Augustine, would tell them their lines if they forgot.

This is another cast member performing his monologue. Do you remember what that is?
I have a couple of questions for the cast members, so maybe they can write to me with their answers. My first question is, why was everyone talking English but it sounded different? Is it very hard to learn how to talk that way?

This is me with Kynna, the Lighting Designer. She also has a student helper. Her name is Erica. They have a very complicated job to do. They have to make sure the actors have just the right amount of light shining on them so the audience can see them and to create a mood on stage.
I hope the cast members write back to me. I also hope they share what it's like to be in a show on a stage.
Their first performance is on Friday. Check out the website for the Seattle Public Theater for more info.
If you want to learn more about Shakespeare, here's one site you can visit:
Bye for now,
Sleepy Bear

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleepy Bear Visits The Wizard of Oz Rehearsal at Seattle Public Theater

Hi Friends,

As you know I'm blogging about my visits to the Seattle Public Theater Youth Programs. Right now the 3rd and 4th graders are rehearsing THE WIZARD OF OZ. They will share their performance with their family in another two weeks!

I thought I would read the book, THE WIZARD OF OZ. It's fun to compare and contrast the book with the show on the stage. Oh, in case you don't remember what 'compare' and 'contrast' mean, I'll tell you. Compare means how things are the same and contrast means how things are different. I'll tell you more after I read a few pages of the book.

But first, I want to introduce you to my new friend. Meet Lucius. He is the Wizard in the show. I talked to him about auditioning. He said he had to learn some choreography and read some lines. He's done this before so he wasn't nervous. Lucius also told me that acting is lots of fun! I can tell by watching Lucius during rehearsal that he's having a great time.
If you're thinking about signing up for one of the youth programs at the Seattle Public Theater, I'll tell you what to expect at the audition. First, you might have to read some dialogue. That's when you pretend you are a character in a play and read the lines with a group of kids. You don't get to practice at home first. That's the tricky part! Or you might need to read a monologue. That's when you read a paragraph of words for one character, all by yourself. And guess what? You don't get to practice that one at home either. But, everyone at Seattle Public Theater is super nice and they will help you if you get stuck or maybe if you get nervous. Just think about all the fun you can have!!
I'm going to make myself a cup of hot chocolate with whippy cream and read THE WIZARD OF OZ. Be sure to check back when I tell you what I learn about compare and contrast.
Your friend,
Sleepy Bear

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sleepy Bear Is a Contributing Blogger for the Seattle Public Theater!

Hi friends,

I’m very excited to tell you about some good news! I have been invited by the Seattle Public Theater to write about their youth programs!!! Have you ever wanted to act in a play on a stage? If you answered “yes” or even “maybe” then the youth programs are for you! It’s a great way to get started on your acting career.

The Seattle Public Theater has classes for kids that teach you how to act and move on stage. Right now there is a group of 3rd and 4th graders who are rehearsing for The Wizard of Oz. I got to visit them while they worked.

I was a little bit nervous at first. But Todd, he’s the director, introduced me to the kids. They all made me feel very welcomed and they didn’t mind that I sat and watched. While they worked hard I heard Todd instruct the kids about their choreography. “What’s that?” I wondered.
Oh, and all the kids had a stack of papers stapled together. Sometimes Todd would say, “OK, everyone is off script, now.” And then the kids would drop their stack of papers on the floor and out of the way. “Hmmm,” I wondered, what that was about?” Luckily for me, when the kids were finished working, they sat with me and answered my questions.

I made some new friends at the Seattle Public Theater. Sean, Aliza and Makena each helped me to understand choreography. They said it’s planned dancing or movement while you’re acting like a character from a play. That sounds very difficult. But there’s more! Sometimes you even have to sing, too! I don’t know if I would ever be able to do all that at the same time. But these kids are good. They were all following Todd’s choreography instructions.

I also learned what the stack of papers is called. That’s the script and each actor has one. They told me it is the story typed on paper and it tells which character says which words. Sometimes it also tells the characters what they are supposed to do on stage. When Todd tells them, “off script,” that means they can’t look at the words typed on paper! Yikes, that sounds very difficult.
Aliza and Makena let me look at their scripts. Each girl used a different colored highlighter pen to mark the words they had to memorize for the character they were playing.
Wow! That’s a lot of words to memorize. They said it takes lots of practice. They read and re-read many times a day, every day. When I read a book, I read it once and then go on to another book. I can’t imagine reading the same story, over, and over, and over, and over again. That’s dedication!

Todd has invited me to visit them again while they rehearse. In a few weeks the kids get to perform the show for their parents. It’s not a real performance for the public to watch because the kids are learning what to do right now. Sometimes I’ll get to visit rehearsals for shows that you can see at The Bathhouse On Green Lake. I’ll let you know which shows those are, too.

So, if acting on stage sounds like something you want to do, then you should ask your parents to visit the website for the Seattle Public Theater and sign you up for the classes. Here’s the link:

Be sure to check back next week when I write more about how to audition for a show.

Your Friend,
Sleepy Bear