Next, I trucked from the east side of the state to the west side. (Through a wicked rain storm. I sat in my hotel room watching Tornado Watches on the TV before heading out and trying to determine if I was going to get caught in some Wizard of Oz action. Luckily not so much.)
I was fortunate to have two days of teaching at Lakewood Ranch High School thanks to one of our oldest customers, Roxane Caravan. Roxane has been on board with Theatrefolk almost since the beginning. Lakewood Ranch itself looks a little bit like the city that Disney World built which is somewhat odd, and I’m a Disney World nut!
The teaching was great. It’s sometimes hard to get through to students who are just starting to write that the process is more than banging out the text from beginning to end. That by limiting the work to starting at the beginning and getting to the end can lead to writers block. The more you write around the play, and outside the world of the play, the more it affects (and improves) the script.
This school also did the Competition version of Circus Olympus in the fall and did a repeat performance for me so I could see it. I loved it. (And I got a cool t-shirt)
Next, Florida State. The big Show. The big leagues. The Florida State Thespians Festival is the largest conference we go to. There are 6500 attendees, which is at least 1000 more than last year. It’s jam packed busy! One of my favourite activities at State festivals is meeting teachers and student who had performed my scripts, or who have performed scenes from my scripts in Individual events. I had three versions of a scene from Deck the Stage. I met a girl who did a scene from Flaky Lips (and is going to direct it) and a pair who did a scene from Jealousy Jane. They’re not allowed to use costumes in their scenes and they came up with a very creative way to show the ‘monster’ in this play within the rules.
I never know what to do when I meet these students. They are almost always THRILLED to meet me, and I want to say “Don’t you know I’m nobody?” Which of course is completely untrue. I am someone to them. In the end I’m just as thrilled that they like my work so much. I’m insanely tickled when anyone does one of my scripts. It makes my day. It’s like a ticker tape parade. The confetti is annoying to clean up but I don’t care.
I was lucky enough to have another show performed at the State Level – Emotional Baggage by St. Cloud High School. They did a nice job with it, and more importantly, after talking to the director they had a defined vision for the script and achieved that vision.
That is what I think is extremely impressive – I see so many shows (and movies, oh the crappy crappy movies) where there is no vision and no plan. When directors follow a thesis they succeed and whether or not critics or judges agree is meaningless. It was good to see.