Our Story Part Three: My Directorial Debut, “The Mad Adventures of Mr. Toad!”

3 Mar

My First Directing Job!

2007

So, after Alice In Wonderland wrapped up, I had just committed to directing the next Youth Theater program for the Broken Arrow Community Playhouse.  I assumed that since they had really only ever had one true “children’s show” that it would be a year before the next one.

Mr. Toad and Friends

Not so fast… a few DAYS later I was at home with my kids and the producer called me to say, “Great news!  We’ve been approved!  We will hold auditions in two weeks.  I’ll stop by and give you scripts asap!”

Whoa.  What?  I have two WEEKS to prepare for this?  I hadn’t directed a “real” show before.  Yeah, I’d written and been in small church plays as a teenager (even that horribly received Christmas spoof… which for some reason didn’t go over well.  Apparently the church members expected more reverence from a 15 year old.)

So, as always, google was my friend.  You know what, though?  There aren’t really that many websites telling you how to direct a play.  None that made sense to me, anyway.

I decided to just do it using what I’d learned by watching the other directors from Alice and The Wizard of Oz.  I knew what I wanted to do the same, and what I wanted to change.  This is always how I work best anyway, not by following someone else’s rules of how it should be done, but doing it in a way that seemed intuitive, creative and efficiently as possible!  

So, off I went… 

And WOW, what an experience THAT was!  I still vividly remember in the car on the way to our first performance… I kind of had a mini anxiety attack.  I turned to my husband and said something to the effect, “But wait!  How could you let me do this??  I don’t even think I LIKE KIDS!!  And TEENAGERS?  WHAT WAS I THINKING?? 32 kids in one room??? AHHHHHH!!”

A verbose man of many lengthy monologues, he replied, “Don’t worry, honey, you’ll be great.”

Then… on the way home that same night, “Wow, honey, thank you for helping me with this… this is going to be the BEST THING EVER!  I think I’ll be GOOD at this.  This is something I can do!”

To which he said, “I told you you’d be great.”  Well, yeah, but he’s always saying things like that:)

A short short clip of some of my favorite costumes and props, including the actual moving car that Patrick built and my mom painted!

You all know how fond I am of videos:)  So, here you have it, our blooper reel from practice and a little publicity piece that a couple of my awesome actors made!

Or, if you prefer, a Slideshow of all of our awesome pictures!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was great.  It was AWESOME, actually.  

There were a few glitches.  Poor Josh, he had such a beautiful young boy’s singing voice all through rehearsals… until a few days before we opened and his voice changed nearly overnight.  His mom brought him to practice, saying, “Byn, we have a problem” and then Josh, with this brand new deep voice that tended to squeak at just the worst time added, “Sorry MsByn!!”  He had to basically speak the lines instead of sing and I felt so bad for him.

Abyni played the Mole, and she was SO adorable.  I designed the costume to have a big, low hanging bottom, so whenever she walked, it would bounce around and it was SO hilarious, that it often stole the show.  Oops!!!

Abyni as Mole, minus the jacket

Marni, my costumer was amazing.  When Ryan decided that he wanted to play the head weasel with a new twist, we renamed him “Cap’n Jack Weasel” and Marni found the most AWESOME costumes.  It was SUCH a hit!

Anyway, it was a glorious experience, and one that I couldn’t wait to try again!  Thankfully, it wasn’t long before my next opportunity popped up!  Check back tomorrow to see how I got involved in my next theater project, “The Phantom of the Op’ry”!

I’m thinking that at some point, I might write a more in depth look at directing and producing a play.  I have learned a LOT from this experience and I think I have a lot to share.  But that will have to be later, as I’m a little busy with Bean at the moment!

Cap'n Jack Weasel...

What is your creative outlet?  

Have you ever been involved in theater?  

Tell me about your best/worst/funniest moments!

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2 Responses to “Our Story Part Three: My Directorial Debut, “The Mad Adventures of Mr. Toad!””

  1. Bryan March 4, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    Great to hear you had such a rewarding experience. I’m a tech specialist at the school where I work, and because I’ve had some experience in music production, I’m also the school’s sound guy for play productions. While I love mixing and giving the audience a great sound, the best part for me is when the production calls for lots of sound effects. Sound design is really fun, and I love the challenge of trying to help immerse the audience (parents) in the story. Every year we try to “one-up” ourselves.

    • Bean's Monkey Business March 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

      That’s how we were with each successive play!! I love trying to immerse the kids and the audience in the experience! Thank you for stopping by.

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