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Archive for March, 2012

I know its been awhile since our last update, but we’ve had lots going on at Daytime Moon, and I want to share with you in the excitement!

I just looked at the date of our last update, and it appears that I owe you all a big HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that your 2012s have been wonderful so far, and I’d like to share with you our Happy New Year video greeting. It was on the website for a month back in January and went out in our newsletter, but in case you missed it (or just want to reflect on an amazing 2011 with me for a moment) here it is again. It’s a great look at our amazing past year, and a look forward to what is already proving to be an incredible 2012!

So now to update you on what we’ve been up to!

Unlike in programs past, when we’ve taken a little while to refuel after our final productions, we hit the ground running in the new year, starting an in-school program at Aaron Academy right away.

This program, which ran for ten weeks and finished this afternoon, was a during school elective class for a small group of 7th graders. With shorter classes (we only met for an hour each week), we ultimately had less time, but nonetheless worked toward an in-school presentation of scenes for teachers and friends. It was, as always, incredible to watch their growth–a group that was initially very shy about improvising and often quiet in reading was loudly engaging in their presentation and even coming up with accents for their characters! Much to my excitement, the group was really into Star Wars, so we chose scenes from “A New Hope” to get things rolling. Talking about empathy for Darth Vader’s character and how to channel energy into his calm evil… The nonverbal communication that happens every time R2D2 uses his beeps to speak… I found myself finding new things to love about “Star Wars” every day–an added joy for someone who grew up on the VHS version of the trilogy!! As we neared the end of our unit and the final performance of the scenes, the group was getting bitten by the writing bug, wanting to change endings and create their own scenes. Which is extra great, because we’ve been invited back to continue with a second unit devoted to just that–playwriting!! Starting next week, we’ll be working with the group to develop a much more formal presentation: a full length original production to be presented for faculty, family, friends and the community on Aaron Academy Day! Can’t wait to continue our creations!!

In the middle of January, a few weeks after starting with Aaron Academy, Michelle and I returned to the Cooke Center Academy SKILLS Program. Fresh off the success of “Welcome to Camp,” our group of 8 young adults was eager to start writing right away. The growth and development of their improv skills was apparent from the very beginning and Michelle and I could tell right away we were in for something very special. By the third week, we had the makings of a script–the group knew that they wanted to write an adventure story set in outer space that involved archeologists, astronauts, royalty and a story about coming together. Pretty inspirational and exciting themes, no? And they expressed their desire for it to be a musical, which we were only too happy to hear.

In the middle of the program, right after we started writing scenes, Daytime Moon was invited by GallopNYC, a therapeutic horseback riding company, to present an acting clinic alongside RJ Mitte, a professional actor on TV’s “Breaking Bad” who has cerebral palsy and is a passionate advocate for individuals with disabilities. Our group was able to present some of the scenes they’d written for RJ, who gave advice and helped them to continue discovering their characters. Check out the great video and photos from the event!

Here, Alexis, Jake, and Christina show RJ the scene where the King and Queen of Mars contemplate what to do with the astronauts they’ve taken captive:

And here are some photos!

The group warming up with RJ

RJ talking to the group

Carrie meeting Addison Witt, RJ's manager

RJ, Addison, and I going over the scenes for the group to perform

RJ working on the draft of Jake and Alexis' scene from "Martian Mayhem"

Addison and Christina working on a scene

The whole group with RJ, Michelle and I

Alicia Kershaw, the Executive Director of GallopNYC, RJ Mitte, and I

And three weeks ago, we had the most exciting opportunity of all: guest artist Ken McQueen, a professional composer and music director, joined us for rehearsal. The group talked through the arc of the play and the moments where the energy of the scene was so high that a song would be important. Together, we found three important places for music and began improvising with Ken. The group had an absolute blast, as you can see:

The group and I mapping out the scene arcs for Ken's music rehearsal

The group and Ken hard at work

Ken McQueen

Alexis improvising with Ken

Jake's turn to improvise with Ken

And in an amazing twist of fate, right as we were talking about how at the end of the play the Martians and Astronauts should sing about all of the wonderful things around them that are red (since Mars is the Red Planet, after all) a leak in the ceiling that had been pesky all class suddenly opened up in a huge raining flood of water that had turned…RED!!! No joke- it was such an exciting (though certainly inconvenient) coincidence! Since the group loved improvising songs with Ken so much, we did our closing activity (where everyone says their name, how they’re feeling and their favorite part of class) to music, telling each student to sing their closing activity answers instead. Here, Alexis improvises a short song about how much she loves Daytime Moon and how we “made it rain red” before passing the baton to Nagisa for her verse:

Now, the completed script, called “Martian Mayhem:The Musical,” is ready to be shared!! So join us for a royal rumble on the red planet as we present a reading/workshop production of their amazing creation this Monday the 19th at the Peoples Improv Theater at 4:30 PM. The address is 123 East 24th St, and I hope to see you there!!! The play tells the story of a group of astronauts on a mission to Mars. When their ship lands drastically off course, they meet the Martian Royal Family, who–out of fear–take two of the astronauts captive. What ensues is a hilarious and, at times, touching musical journey about seeking adventure and celebrating our differences.

And last, but certainly not least, I have to give you a peek of what’s next on our horizon–“Stars of the Stage,” our 10 week program for ages 8-16, kicks off this Saturday, March 17th. Michelle, Meredith and I will be back in the rehearsal room with an amazing crew of enthusiastic volunteers and what I’m sure will be a great group of kids. We’ve got a lot of new students signed up, and I can’t wait to meet them and get started on our show! I’m promising now to be better about the blog, so you’ll have updates on that group (and on the “Martian Mayhem” performance) soon.

For now, I think that’s all, folks…so I’m signing off. I hope you are enjoying the beautiful spring weather and are as excited as I am for everything going on here at Daytime Moon!

Sending you lots of Springtime Cheer,

Jenna

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