For the past few weeks, we've been focusing on our choreography and set design, which gives us an opportunity to see another level of our talented students. We very often have some real great dancers and artists emerge who haven't yet stood out in opera class. But as we wrap up these projects, we will be moving into staging our operas and thinking about the dramatization of our stories.
To prepare for this next step, we created a Prezi for our classes that highlighted the basic ideas about staging and acting like stage directions and thinking about adding "intention" to each line. For each dramatic idea, we had volunteers come up and demonstrate in front of the class. For example, I would give a student a line like "The building is on fire" and first they were instructed to say the line without any emotion or inflection and then we asked the class to give ideas for how our student volunteer can alter their voice, their face and their movements or actions to best communicate the line. I was really impressed with not only our student's acting skills but also their directing ideas.
I hope that we can continue to draw on our students' directing ideas as we start blocking our show. I think it always helps students not only remember their staging but commit to it when they had a say in the decision behind it. This past week, we passed out scripts and announced our casts. It's always a delight to watch our classes get so excited about their roles and I think this is when they really start to take ownership of their operas. I'm really looking forward to watching their stories come to life in the coming months!