I had a great experience last month with a school in Pennsylvania doing Humbug High. So great, I want to do this with every school producing one of my plays.
The teacher contacted me to see if I’d be interested in doing some kind of Q and A with her cast. I love being available for questions from a production. It’s often hard to connect with schools because I’m rarely in the area of the show. Email is great because you can write your thoughts clearly but it misses the human touch. A phone call is better, but it’s not the same as face to face. The teacher suggested we set up a Skype video call.
Now, Skype is something I’m familiar with but hadn’t really used. What I mostly know is that Skype works best when you’re talking to someone who also has Skype – otherwise the connection drops very easily. But I was certainly willing to try.
The setup was painless. I signed up for Skype (which is free by the by) and so did the school. We did a test connect before our scheduled time which went off without out a hitch. The call time and off we went.
The students were able to see me and hear me and I was able to see and hear all of them in their class room. I arranged with the teacher ahead of time that students should come with a couple of questions prepared – that worked beautifully as there was no awkward silence while we waited for the next question. There were questions about the play they were working on, but also about theatre, trying to make a living as a writer and of course, who was the best Scrooge on film.
If you’re out there, and you’re going one of my plays I’d be eager, willing and able to set up a Skype video chat with you and your cast. It truly is the next best thing to having the playwright in your classroom. Let’s do it!