“Welcome Home” Chapter Six- The Little Mermaid

6 Jul

The next day of theatre camp was just as much fun as the first one had been. Here is my journal entry for June 5:
I made the parts of P. 1 (Pirate 1) and a singer in “Part of your World.” I couldn’t be more pleased. I don’t have a dancing part, but that’s alright because I don’t really know how to dance. Kera and I were taken into the greenroom where we practiced lines all day. Kera is hilarious, even when she is not acting.”
Kera and I got along very well together. As the journal entry states, she was down-to-earth hilarious and there was something about her that made me feel like we had been friends for ages, instead of only one day. She was not funny as in obnoxiously loud. In fact, she was on the quieter side, but she had a fire inside her spirit that made her seem so alive. I think our roles in the play also made us feel like best buds. Pirate One and Pirate Two, who soon became Marcy and Maria, were good friends. Marcy, who was my character, was supposed to be the grim, stubborn, gristly pirate who was always correcting her friend. Kera’s character, Maria, was always getting her words mixed up and was a true comedy in the making. The two personalities clashed in a way that made for wonderful acting, especially on Kera’s part. She poured energy into her lines with a passion that I had never seen before. Her dream was to be an actress, though she did not particularly care about singing and dancing. Kera fit her part perfectly; she was a funny, physically strong eighth grader with a reputation for kicking butt in football and kickboxing championships. She claimed that she could be funny without trying. She proved this for sure after one of her signature yawns. I thought someone had yelled, but then I look down to see a sleepy, mischievous expression on Kera’s face. We both started snickering and could hardly stop. Practice with Kera truly was like a comedy show with a darker side. She reminded me of Jo in Little Women. She was a beautiful girl inside and out, but I am sure she would not have heard anything of the sort being the tomboy she was.
Cue 52’s venue was a place called The Warehouse. It was used by different organizations for a variety of events, including Bible studies and I think it might have even been home to a small church at one point. Inside the same building, just as you walk in the door, there was a coffee shop called A Thousand Hills coffee. The shop gathered a bunch of business from all of the Cue 52 kids that would go there to buy a snack during lunch break. Kera once got a chocolate chip muffin and an espresso cup of coffee. I thought we were going to die that day….but that’s a story for another time.
Off the main auditorium, there was a small room often used for prayer. The walls were covered with stenciled painted letters, spelling God’s name in multiple languages. There was a bulletin full of prayer requests that were remarkable to read. So many people had posted letters that the cards were beginning to overlap. Kera and I spent most of our time there running lines. It was nicely quiet in there and the beanbag chairs made it a comfortable place to practice. Elizabeth and Lakeland mostly used the main auditorium for practicing “Under the Sea,” the main dance routine, which was highly distracting from line memorization. Eventually, Mrs. Jen actually gave Kera and me some singing lines in the song. Kera and I had our own little platform on the ground just off stage right since we were the narrators. About the third day of camp, we got to practice a few scenes with everyone. Because I had not seen the dancers practice before, I was mesmerized. The skills displayed by my fellow thespians after only two days was amazing. Suddenly, I realized that only the instrumental track was playing; the singing had stopped. I looked around to see everyone in the room staring at me. I glanced at Kera to see what to do, but she did not give me too much of a response. It was then that I realized something…I had forgotten to speak my lines in the song. I explained my reasoning to Mrs. Jen (not to mention the rest of the class) and she laughed, forgave me for my little blunder, and restarted the track. I resolved to not make that mistake again, though I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show as well as acting.
For the most part, practice continued in the green room. Mr. Kevin, Mrs. Jana, and Mrs. Jen visited us often, checking our progress. Though it was based off the Disney adaptation of “The Little Mermaid”, Mr. Kevin actually wrote the official script we used and added the pirate lines, which are not included in Disney’s version. Pirates of the Caribbean was Mr. Kevin’s favorite movie series and he wanted to make swashbuckling, swarthy, despicable pirates of Kera and me. He said I was too sweet with Kera; I had to be mean and nasty, like I was deeply irritated. This eventually came, sort of. Mrs. Jen actually told me to watch part of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl as an assignment, which I did gladly since it was one of my favorite movies. Perhaps it was in these “pirate sessions” with Mr. Kevin, Mrs. Jana, and Mrs. Jen that I got two of the best pieces of acting advice ever. The first came from Mrs. Jen regarding my lack of energy. She told me that everything you say in theatre, as in life, has a purpose and an emotion behind it. I felt silly putting quite so much effort behind my words, chuckled awkwardly, and admitted my embarrassment. This is when Mr. Kevin gave the second helpful tip. He said that acting in theatre was different from the real world or film work because of the fact that you are on stage. When you are onstage, you have to exaggerate your movements so that people on the back row can see you. He gave a visual example of someone dancing. He walked across the room and told me to watch him. Smiling and snapping his fingers, he said that this little dance did not mean a lot to me since I was the observer, but in his practical mind, he looked like he was on Broadway! This is why theatre rarely has to be scaled down. In film, you do not have make your expressions as pronounced because the camera is in your face. That clarified many boundaries for me and cleared up the blurry line between stage and film acting.
Practice was a ton of fun, especially once Kera and I started to create backstories for our characters. Mr. Kevin came up with the idea that the reason us two single girls decided to sail the seas without men was that we were rebels. He said that perhaps even Prince Eric dumped Maria (Kera’s character) and that is the reason she vowed never to marry. We were certainly independent, strangely similar to my previous wishes to be forever single and “free.” Between laughs over our funny lines, crazy faces over lunch, and even our grand entrance in the play where we staggered about drunkenly, laughing like we were delirious, it really did feel like Kera and I had sailed the seven seas together for years. In theatre, you do not have competitors. You have family friends tightly bound in an original cast. You become close and live two worlds together, pulling each other through both.
Other journal entries from this week:
Wednesday, June 6, 2012,
Kera and I practiced lines again this morning. Maggie (Sebastian in the play) and Nicole watched. Maggie is so amazing. She’s only ten, the camp has only been two days long, and she knows everyone’s lines! The green room is so scary with the lights off. There is no light except this red “eye” in the ceiling! After lunch, we watched everyone else and we had just gotten to “Part of your World” when it was time to go. By the way, Kera and I got a part in “Under the Sea.” Oh yeah, Lakeland thinks I am British! That was so cool!
Thursday, June 7, 2012,
Kera and I had Mrs. Jen to ourselves this morning. She instructed us a lot on characters, but I am going to write down a few important quotes, “There is a backstory for everything. For every word said, there is an emotion and a reason behind it. There are a million different way to say things.” [We also talked about doing] make up (depending on the director’s notes) and a backstory for the character. After lunch we worked a little bit on “Part of your World” and I did a run through with some of the lighting in place.

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