Theatrefolk - The Drama Teacher Resource Company

Production Tips for

by Lindsay Price

Middle schoolers face a tornado of questions every day. What do I wear? What if I wear the wrong thing? What is she wearing? What do I look like? Stop looking at me!

Hoodie examines image and appearance in the vignette style and poses what may be the most difficult question of all – Do I stay in the clump or do I stand alone?

Dramedy Character Study Choral Work Issue-Based Movement-based Vignettes

Average Producer Rating:

This is a vignette play! What is a Vignette Play?

Tips from the Author

Other schools who produce the play often tell us that working on the Clump is the most challenging part of the play. But it’s also the most important. The Clump represents the fears of every middle school student with regards to standing out. At some point, every middle schooler feels it’s better to remain unnoticed in the crowd than to stand out as an individual.

To that end, the Clump needs to practice moving and speaking as one. Easy to say, hard to do! Repetition will be your friend and it will also make a stunning visual for the audience to see this “clump” in action.

And if your Clump is feeling like they’re not important, make sure to nip that in the bud. Here are some ensemble building activities and exercises to get your entire cast on the same page:

Tips from past Producers

Organize the show into Scenes so that you can rehearse them more easily.
If you expand the cast out, be sure to have help! Including tech, it was me vs. 60 seventh and eighth graders. While it was a great experience, it was also overwhelming. The clump needs to do everything together in class to build that bond and ensemble so they are ready to perform together.
Each student was able to wear their own clothes for their costumes. We changed out pieces quickly for character changes. Each student in my cast of 20 was able to play 2-3 roles each and be part of the ensemble.
Spend enough time with your clump.
Take lots of time with the clump - they can make/break the performance. If you have students playing multiple roles (like I did), work to help them differentiate one character to another for audience clarity. Lighting also makes a big difference when doing a vignette play like this.
We used rolling flats with the title name and important words from the show to create a backdrop. The words were chosen by the stage crew who read the play and came up with the words they felt stood out. The crew then painted the flats. It was a great way to get them invested in the show, especially important since there is very little for crew to do during the show. I also asked everyone to send me a song that they felt fit with the show, with MS in general, or that they just liked. We had some amazing suggestions that I used as pre-show, scene change, and post-show music.
We used a base costume for all - your own pants, a black t-shirt underneath, to allow for quick changes with no real 'backstage' or 'wings' space. We used things like vests, blazers, scarves, hats, etc. to show different characters. Have fun with the CLUMP's blocking! We had them hiding behind set pieces, striking a pose for Natalie's monologue, and dropping to the floor after Cologne Boy's moment, etc.

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