The Lake County Theatre Company will abide by all social distancing requirements both in the creation of our productions and in the presentation of them. We are very hopeful that we will be together again soon. In the meantime, please watch this slide show.
Now that all the students are out of school, it can be a challenge for parents to find resources for making sure their child has a well-rounded education. The ARTS are an important part of that education. Children use the skills they learn in other areas while they are singing and acting. Think of it as a “tool” to use all those other subjects and be creative!
As children play, they develop fundamental cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills. Young children also learn practical life skills such as dressing themselves, how to cooperate, and share with others. Playing is a child’s way of engaging, and pretending creates alternate realities to the real world. There are 3 different types of play that ACTING can fulfill.
Pretend play allows children to experiment with and learn about the power of language, how it affects us and those around us. It also helps them to understand that words give us the means to re-enact situations, to put our point across and to make ourselves heard and understood.
Dramatic play encourages children to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Such role-playing helps them to improve their ability to do this in real life. They learn important social skills, such as empathy.
One of the reasons imagination is so important is that it helps children to understand the world around them. Imaginative play allows children to express themselves verbally and physically, act, react and interact, and try out different roles and scenarios within safe boundaries of their own making.
We have put together a list of YouTube videos that you can use to help your child express themselves through acting! We hope you find this helpful and fun!
“How You Say It” Acting Game for Kids
Acting For Kids (by Kids)
Kindergarten Theatre 4 Vocal and Physical Warm Up
Theatre Game – Spaghetti
Acting Exercises for Kids
Three Ways Acting Exercise
Drama Games for Primary School Students
By John Tomlinson
Auditions. The word alone brings a simultaneous joy and fear to those who know. However, even those who know the actor’s perspective may not know the other half of the story. I thought it may be useful to share some audition tips. I will share the most useful tips for the people reading this in our small rural local community theatre group here in Lake County, CA. OK. Let’s get ready to auditioooooooooooooon!!!!!
Do everything you can to be ready for an audition. Most of our auditions locally use sides, or scenes from a play. Other auditions may even call for a monologue. Make sure to get a copy of the material and familiarize yourself with the character you are reading. Reading the entire play will give you the best idea of the complete story of that character, and what the scene means in the bigger picture.
Practice as many times as possible before the audition. If possible, many actors will visit the place where the audition is being held before the audition date. It can help the process of visualizing success when we know that actual space we plan to occupy in the future. Visualizing success before an event is known to lessen feelings of anxiety. Because, nerves.
First of all, anxiety is an issue for every actor at auditions. Every. Single. Actor. We all know this, performers, directors and casting people included. Rather than succumb to this, or even worse, tell the casting group how nervous you are, try to gain control of your nerves. Take some time to get yourself focused. Take some deep breaths. Lean into the natural tension created by this situation. Let it create a wave of excitement that drives you into a sharper focus. Directors appreciate focused energy. What better way to show this than as your first impression?
Entering into the room
Speaking of first impressions, the moment you walk into the room yours begins. Now for our group at LCTC, most of the time we know each other, so it is not literally a first impression. Let’s face it, when casting locally, masking the surprise is hard when someone we don’t know walks through the door for an audition. I have even heard a fellow casting peron gasp once or twice when someone new walks in. Still, whether the actor is familiar or not, we look for signs of how well a person fits into a role right away. Come in with your game face, give a hello, and go to your spot to start your work.
Where to stand
I know, I know, “go to your spot” sounds like dog training. But where to locate yourself in the room is important so I had to get your attention. Think of this: the room becomes yours, philosophically, once you enter. I see that mindset as crucial to succeeding in auditions. Take a position in the center of the play space, which should be evident from how the room is set up. You don’t have to stay there, (we will explore that more later) but use this as a starting point.
Now, also think about sharing the space as well. Start at least 6 feet back from the audition table. If you stand too close to the audition panel we can not see all of you, and, honestly, it’s a bit awkward. On that note, we want to watch your scene, not be in it. Breaking the fourth wall by making eye contact with the panelists, or even worse using them as part of the scene, is also awkward and should be avoided.
Be free and explore, create.
Before you cry foul at all of the limitations here, let me now encourage your sense of autonomy and freedom. Move! Use the space. Don’t let your character show up only to grow roots into the floor and barely move their arms at certain planned moments. Finding a physical connection to the script helps us see the possibilities of your version of a character. It also puts those pesky nerves we talked about earlier at rest so you can function more fluidly.
Don’t just wander around without purpose. When you are practicing before the audition, find things in the script that move you. Literally. Where are the moments of emotional connection most evident to you in the scene? That is likely a good moment to move. Experiment with moving at different times, in different ways, and monitor how you feel about the different moves. Use the physical movements which work best to shape your performance.
We want you to win
If anything, I hope to give you one key piece of insight. We want you to get the role. We want every next person that walks in the room to be the one, like Neo in the Matrix. We come looking for a solution to our casting issues, and we always hope for good news. We want you to succeed. I often find this comforting. I am not going before a group of people that are waiting for me to finish and leave. Rather, they were looking for me to be, well, what they were looking for. This makes me feel more welcome, which gets me in a ready mood.
Let it go and then let it go
So there you are in the middle of the play space; poised, prepared, not looking me in the eye. What now? Now it is time to cut loose! Let all of your preparation shine through and knock our socks off! You built this performance, practiced many times, and visualized success. You held all of that in until now. Now, let it go! Put everything you prepared out there into play. WHEW! And then, let it go.
This work is exhausting. You did it. Say thank you. Wait for your cue from the panel to know if they want to discuss anything more, or if you are finished. And then depart. Walk away and leave this behind for now. Don’t spend time second-guessing, wondering what if, or entertaining any of the many troubling thoughts one can find after an audition. Instead, go do something entertaining for yourself. Or go get some ice cream, or chili cheese fries, or an ice cold beverage. Get a massage or mani-pedi. Hang out with some friends. Rejoice. It was a big day. Be nice to yourself. You deserve it.
Lake County Theatre Company
I have some ideas of plays that I’d like to see LCTC perform. Who do I give my suggestions to?
Thank you for asking. Actually, we have been asked this question quite a bit. The short answer is, the Play Selection Committee. Who are they, you ask?
The Lake County Theatre Company consists of many individuals who work together to bring to you, our patrons, the shows that we present. The Play Selection Committee does just that!
The members of the Play Selection Committee consists of anyone who is a member of LCTC and is interested in exploring different theatrical performances that may be of interest to our patrons. The committee starts looking at scripts in January/February for the season that will presented starting in July the following year. For example, in January/February of 2020, the committee will be looking to fill our 2021/2022 Season (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022). That seems like a long time, however, by the time the members read several scripts, discuss them, find directors for the shows, and research performance venues, they are often pressed for time to present the new season line up to the Board of Directors by December of that year.
Many people have asked how they can make suggestions of plays to LCTC. The answer is that you can attend a Play Selection Committee meeting at any time and let us know your thoughts. The meetings are publicized through our newsletter, on our Facebook Page, and on our website (LCTC.US). If you are unable to attend the meetings, feel free to send us an email at email@example.com.
Our goal is to continue to provide shows that our patrons are interested in seeing. Please, let us know your ideas!!
Why is LCTC using a computer for the music in the musicals rather than a live band?
That is an excellent question. For four shows (South Pacific, The Producers, Oklahoma, and now, Chicago), LCTC has been using a computer to generate the orchestral music for their musicals. There are three major reasons (and some minor reasons) why we are doing this.
First, in a small community like Lake County, the available of musicians to fill all of the parts required by these major musicals is very limited. In fact, the program we use is geared for Community Theater Companies who are in exactly this position.
Second, the cost of hiring musicians is far more than the cost of the computer program and the Music Director to operate it. Our shows cost approximately $20,000 to put on. Using live musicians would add $10,000 to $15,000 to the cost of the show as they are paid for rehearsals and each performance. The computer keeps the tickets at a reasonable price for our patrons.
Third, using the computer reduces the amount of time for rehearsal for the show. Using live musicians means that not only does the cast have to rehearse, but the musicians must also rehearse. The music for these shows is very complex which would require extensive rehearsal on the part of the musicians. Having the computer allows us to not only reduce the rehearsal time, but also to provide our cast with the exact music that they will be using for the show during their rehearsals. This builds confidence and a much more polished performance.
The computer is not the same as using a Karaoke track. The difference is that with Karaoke the singer has to be able to time their performance to the speed of the track. The computer is flexible. The Music Director operating the program is actually following the performance on stage and timing it to the actors. This makes for a seamless performance and a lot of flexibility on stage.
We hope that when you come and see our shows that you will be very impressed with the quality of the music and the performance as a whole. If you want to see more about what the computer is about, visit the “Orchestra Pit” at the foot of the stage during intermission or after the show. We’ll be happy to show it to you!
I thought that the LCTC Bylaws dictated that there should be elections for the Board of Directors. I understand that we installed a new Board at the July meeting, but I don’t remember getting a chance to vote. Can you explain?
Thank you for that great question! Under the Bylaws, the Board of Directors has the option to not have an election if there are either not enough people to run for the Board, or they have the exact number of people needed to fill the vacant positions on the Board. This year, it was the later. We had exactly enough people who were interested in serving on the Board as we had vacancies. Therefore, the Board opted to save money and not have an election. Here is the section of the Bylaws that deals with Elections of Officers:
5.5.4 Election of Directors
Directors shall be announced at the annual meeting, having been elected by an authorized ballot previously mailed or emailed to the membership. Ballots listing the candidates for the Board, their qualifications and a personal statement, will be mailed or delivered by email to the entire membership at least 30 days and no more than 60 days in advance of the annual meeting. Ballots will allow write-ins. Ballots must be received at the Corporation’s PO Box, or by online response, prior to the annual meeting. Ballots shall be tallied at the annual meeting by three members of the corporation membership, selected by the Board, none of whom currently serve as Board members or who are candidates for the Board. Vacancies on the Board shall be filled in order of the candidates receiving the most votes. To be elected, any candidate must receive at least 50% plus one of the votes cast. Results of the election will be announced before the close of the annual meeting. Directors-elect shall assume office on the meeting immediately following the election. If the number of qualified board candidates is less than or equal to the number of vacancies, the sitting Board of Directors can choose by unanimous consent to accept the candidates presented, versus calling for a general election.
From the Director, John Tomlinson
In theatre vocabulary you will find two kinds of beats. One is pretty simple, while the other is a bit more complex. An actor may hear two common usages: you hear the phrase “take a beat,” or you hear there is a “beat change.” These terms are not interchangeable. In this article, we intend to have a look at both, and understand which is which..
The first kind of beat is synonymous with a pause. A director might tell an actor take a beat before speaking. Typically this might be used as a moment to reflect internally. Or perhaps it is time to take in an action or speech by another character. At any rate, it means basically the one simple thing, take a short pause, take it all in, and then move on with the action.
The idea of a beat change exists within the theory of modern acting, so explaining it involves several concepts. To understand that beat change, we need to understand objectives, intentions, and tactics as well. We will take a brief look at all of these, before we come back to a beat change, and how it is used.
In the theory of modern acting, it is commonly accepted that every character has an objective, for some goal that they wish to achieve. People refer to objectives as an intention, a character’s motivation, their goal, and probably many other things. It all boils down to the characters core, human desire for fulfillment. It is a style of acting, or way for performers to connect with the material, that is based on the psychology of characters and, what they have in common with the rest of us in real life.
The actor’s job includes using the script, research, and their own knowledge to determine the objectives and intentions of the character. We talk about a character’s super objective, and what they want throughout the entire play. Next we look at a character’s objective or intention within a given scene. How does that intention within their super objective?
The system, known as Psychological Realism, helps actors give a believable sense of character to the audience. So designing and creating a role based on your understanding of a characters psychology makes sense. It is important that every action suits the audience’s perception of what is believable. Therefore an actor must study well not only the character, and what makes sense psychologically. Actors also must know a little about audience perceptions and expectations.
It’s a highly developed skill to develop character thoroughly to its potential.
One funny thing occurs when basing a role on what a character wants, and it often confuses actors. Honestly, most of the time on stage characters do not get what they want. As in other stories, a play’s characters face a series of obstacles, people or events, or even physical limitations that keep them from getting what they want. A character’s intention can be thwarted several times throughout a play.
This is where tactics come to play and beat changes are related to tactics. When a character is met with an obstacle, quitting is not the typical response. Characters typically press on. But they don’t just do the same thing. In line with their intention, characters change their tactics in order to persuade or change the mind of the character presenting an obstacle. This change of tactics is known as a beat change.
Here’s an example. You have decided your character is motivated by attention. The other characters in a scene want an answer from you. This is great! They are paying attention. So you are happy to answer. But then they have what they want so they stop paying attention. What can you do to get their attention back? Dance? Sing? Change your story? Make up a new story? That is when your tactic changes. And that moment of change is a beat change.
Beat changes keep acting fresh and in the moment. If a character, or actor, just tries the same thing over and over it becomes repetitive. Look for the changes in the script that signal a beat change and change your tactics accordingly. Signals for a beat change include a change in mood, emotion, or topic. Use these moments to change your approach, and this will help bring your character to life!