Seeing a play at the Blackfriars is always a special experience, but there’s a little extra magic involved when you see a play as a camper. The culmination of the ASCTC experience are the final performances, all of which take place on the Blackfriars stage. The delight and the challenge of that stage is learning how to get the audience just as involved in the play as the actors are. As any regular audience member can attest, the Blackfriars comes alive when the actors take the stage and speak to the audience gathered all around them. After all, that’s why we do it with the lights on. But the Blackfriars is a special, beautiful oddity in the theatre world and takes some time to get used to performing on. Luckily for our campers, the ASCTC has a sure-fire way to show then how to make that magic happen – tickets to our summer season plays.
On Thursday our campers saw the ASC’s current production of Every Brilliant Thing (which you should totally get tickets to, by the way). Headed up by actor Ginna Hoben, audience interaction is the heart and soul of this play. With the Storyteller character soliciting audience members for props, impromptu speeches, and the reading of handwritten notes, our campers got the chance to be personally involved in the story and to see how much an audience can drive a play, especially in a theatre so designed for direct address.
After the play we attended a talk-back moderated by camp-director-extraordinaire Lia Wallace. Ginna took the time to answer question about the rehearsal process for a one-person show and how she adapted to different moments with the audience. Getting insights into a play from the actor performing it is always a treat, especially for budding performers.
Inspired by the motif of the show, I’ve asked the campers to provide some their own brilliant things:
The fun continued into yesterday as campers were invited to attend a rehearsal for the ASC’s upcoming summer production of Thrive, Or What You Will. Getting the chance to observe a professional rehearsal room is an awesome learning experience for our campers, who got to watch in real-time as the company explored scenes, made new choices, and practiced their music.
An immense amount of work goes into making a play happen. Getting off-book, learning music and dances, memorizing blocking, carrying props and furniture – it’s a lot! Our campers are doing the same kind of work as our professional company, especially since both groups are performing their shows in repertory. They have a huge challenge in front of this this session, but taking time to enjoy a play and learn from some professionals will help them rise to the occasion.