April 22, 2010

Seventh-graders get a behind-the-scenes look at Holes

Doug Instenes, creative director for the Racine Theatre Guild, and Shawn Britten demonstrate stage fighting for seventh-graders. 

The Racine Theatre Guild hosted seventh-graders from Mitchell and Gilmore middle schools Thursday for a series of workshops giving students a behind-the-scenes look at a professional theater production. Theatre Guild staff and volunteers demonstrated make up, stage fighting and improvisation for the students. Following the workshops, the students watched the Theatre Guild's current production, Holes, which runs through this weekend. Tickets are still available for the Saturday shows at 4 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

The workshops are part of a program sponsored by SC Johnson to introduce local students to theater. All seventh-graders in Racine Unified take part in the workshops, and students from elementary and middle schools throughout the county attended day-time performances of the play.

Here are photos from the morning workshop:

Makeup artist Betsy Hurlbut demonstrated how to use makeup and to create scars, cuts and bruises. Here's the results ...

And here ...

On the Theatre Guild's main stage, Doug Instenes, creative director for the Guild, and Shawn Britten, who is an actor in Holes, dueled for the seventh-graders. Instenes and Britten went through choreographed scenes with swords, punches and kicks. The key to a good stage fight, Instenes said: Exaggeration. In real life, fights are over quick. On the stage, actors exaggerate moves to build drama - and to give the actors plenty of time to avoid taking a blow.

In the Theatre Guild's Green Room, Briana Lipor demonstrated improvisation with the seventh-graders. Students took turns acting in a scene where two people were sitting on a bench and a third person is hiding in a bush and whispering words to them. The actors had to improv their lines and react to the cues in funny ways.

Lipor, left in the black shirt, works with students on improvised acting. 

Seventh-graders watch as their classmates take part in the scene. Interesting aside: The Green Room at the Theatre Guild is actually green. 

Holes is based on the popular novel by Louis Sachar. Disney turned the book into a movie in 2003. The Theatre Guild faced a number of technical challenges in staging the story as a play. The first major problem: They needed to dig holes in in the floor. Scenic designer Steve Barnes came up with some clever solutions to create the needed effects to put on the show.

You can buy tickets for this weekend's shows by calling (262) 633-4218. 

1 comment:

  1. The Racine Theatre Guild, its generous volunteers, exceptionally creative directors and crew members, and its wonderfully talented cast members have done an outstanding job in bringing this production to the Racine community audiences. The dedicated effort to manage all details, down to the smallest was evident and made this a one of the guild's biggest successes. Not only was there wonderful experiences and cammaraderie, but important learning for the younger cast members. Countless hours were given by the cast and crew to bring the production to the community seventh graders. RTG and is associates should be very proud of their work. I am grateful for the invaluable experience my son had as being a welcomed addition to the cast, and the knowledge he has gained.

    With sincere appreciation,

    X-Ray's Very Proud, and Graateful Mother