Posted by Joe on July 6, 2015
Here is another Monkey Minute from super director Meredith!
A Day in the Life: From Page to Stage in 18 Hours or Less
As we arrive at Loyola Park for the first rehearsal, excitement is in the air. Monkey after monkey arrives in the space as well as a director, we set up the keyboard and, wham!, it’s time to get started.
We sit in a circle and introduce ourselves to everyone. Then we hear from the teachers. They tell us a little bit about the students and the school.
Then we dig into the journals. Each monkey takes a turn reading a story or two from each child. We then warm up by stretching and playing theater games. Once we are warm, we divide into groups and grab whatever story inspired someone. Maybe it was a setting, a character, a mood, or they wanted to turn it into a rap… we listen to their idea and then we discuss and improvise our way through the story. We run it a couple of times to get down our lines and actions, and then we present it to the director and the larger group. They help us to solidify our ideas and make it look good on the stage. We then talk to the manager about what props we need to make, buy or borrow. Perhaps we need a shark hat or a giant whale? We might have one in storage or we might have an awesome person in the cast who wants to make it for the show.
We do this again and again until we have 20 stories for the show!
Songs take a longer time to work through, so we normally give that an entire three hour rehearsal. Normally we have two big songs per show and the closing number which is written by a monkey and performed at each show all year. The person who wrote the song normally plays it for the group, then we learn it, record it, and put it up on stage. Sometimes we have a choreographer that teaches us some awesome moves, and sometimes we work as a group to come up with them. We listen to the recording for the rest of the week to memorize it before our performance.
The dress rehearsal is the last night before the show. We make sure we have all the costumes and props we need for each story. We run through each song and dance and complicated story before the run, and then we do the entire show for a small audience of other monkeys and friends. The director takes notes, and we listen to them before we head home that night.
We pack up everything after the dress rehearsal. Then we meet for breakfast before the show. We like to meet in the neighborhood of the school. It’s a good time to go over lines with other monkeys, review our run list and ask any questions and get a good breakfast!
Then we get to the school, set up the stage, run a top and bottoms (which means we start and end each sketch really fast). We normally run the songs, so we can set the sound levels in the space and practice any dancing. Then the children arrive and we start the show!
From Page to Stage in 18 hours!