I am currently teaching a 7 week course of Acting to kids K-2 and 3rd-6th grade in Newington, CT. Their energy and overall enthusiasm for just about everything – reminds me that life is pretty freaking awesome. and funny. very, very funny. PS if you are interested in bringing the program to your school or town: http://www.performingartsprograms.biz
I gave my older students an improv to act out where one of them was the doctor and the other one was a patient. The doctor had to convince the patient that she was fine, while the patient had to convince the doctor she was sick. The diagnosis after a well played improv? “You have a fish living in your stomach. It is going to be painful, but you need to take the emergency bathroom pills in order to have it out…in no time. Just don’t take it right now in the office.”
Student 1: Can you tell us something embarrassing that happened to you when you were acting?
Me: Oh. Sure. Um. How about I get back to you on that.
Student 2: There must be SOMEthing you can tell us.
Me: OK. Oh. Do you guys know who Taylor Lautner is? (silence). From Twilight?
Everyone: *murmurs of DUH and YEAH and He’s Jacob!*
Me: Well, one night on a movie set I was very tired from working until 2 in the morning. I walked onto the stage and I almost walked right into him. He said ‘Hello’ and I made a face and walked the other way.
Various Students: WHY WOULD YOU DOOOO THAT?!
Me: I still don’t know! I guess I was tired!
Student 2: Was it on TV?
Student 2: Then it’s not really that embarrassing then.
Me: OK everyone, before you go I just need to assign your homework.
3 students: YAY I LOVE HOMEWORK! (I have never heard a kid say that. Ever).
Student 1 to me: I am going to give you a sticker for that! (I got two stickers, by the way).
These kids make me laugh all the time. They are honest, smart, open, and the best part of all of it is helping them through the times when they get stuck. I notice with kids more and more even just in general settings that they feel that they need to explain all of their actions constantly. I don’t know where this came from or if it’s always been this way. But when I told two of my actors last night that they could feel free to create whatever they wanted in the scene and it would never be wrong, they looked at me, took it in and suddenly they were more natural, in the moment and saying some pretty hilarious stuff.
While I don’t think I would ever want to teach anything to kids other than acting, it feels amazing to teach these kids about something I love that they may or may not pursue, but will definitely help them in the process of being stronger people who actively engage in the world around them.