Drama workshop available for aspiring middle school actors

NEIGHBORS

January 19, 1994|By PAT BRODOWSKI

If you're in middle school and think acting is fun, the place you'll want to be Saturday is North Carroll High School.

This will be your chance to work with the school's drama club in a full day of theatrical workshops. All Carroll County middle school students are invited from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to participate in improvisation, musical theater, backstage techniques and more.

The day costs $5, to cover a lunch of pizza and soda. Registration is not required; just arrive in comfortable clothes. At past events, up to 50 middle school students have participated.

Members of the drama club will teach theatrical techniques they have learned during their high school years on stage. Roberta Rooney, North Carroll High's drama teacher, developed the workshop day several years ago, when middle schools rarely produced stage performances.

"Initially, we began because middle school kids don't really learn much about drama until they get to high school," she said. "And, it's good for the high school kids, too. The teen-agers are doing the teaching, so they have real ownership of it."

Saturday, middle school students will introduce themselves, then be introduced to the theater club during an initial group activity.

In the auditorium, they'll study auditioning skills.

"The [drama club] will teach how to do a cold reading and how to get up on stage and sight read, vs. how to memorize a monologue," Ms. Rooney said. Auditioning skills will include voice projection, body movement and achieving a sense of confidence. Students also will learn warm-up exercises, theater style.

The theater techniques section will take kids behind the scenes.

"We'll teach what's in a lighting booth and how to manipulate lights," Ms. Rooney said.

The costume room is a stop on the tour. Stage makeup is next. One lucky actor- or actress-to-be will get a greasepaint treatment as the group watches. Then it's off to the stage to experiment with stage lights and their effects on the makeup.

The improvisation workshop will teach how to think on one's feet. By playing group and individual games, the participants will have to think spontaneously, learn to respond in a moment and to play off their partner, Ms. Rooney said.

The North Carroll Mime Troupe will show the visitors how to put on mime makeup and perform several basic pantomime skits.

"How to sell a song on stage" is the gist of the musical theater workshop, Ms. Rooney said.

The high schoolers will teach a song and some choreography with it. Then the group will perform song and dance together.

After lunch, members of the drama club will perform parts they've learned, selecting from dramatic scenes, comedy scenes and songs.

"It's a chance to see what [high schoolers] do, so the [middle schoolers] will become excited," Ms. Rooney said.

The middle schoolers take the stage for the day's final activity. They are asked to perform something they've learned that day.

"Yes, there's stage fright," Ms. Rooney says. "Often, they perform what they've done in musical theater. The kids in the workshop do it with them, so they can look . . . and follow.

"The workshop is a nice, safe environment to come to as a middle school student," Ms. Rooney says. "It might take some of the scare out of coming to high school. They might think, 'I had this one positive experience,' instead of, 'This great big place I've never been to.' "

*

During your next visit to the North Carroll branch library, you won't want to miss the pottery on display.

"You don't have to be into pottery to appreciate this," said Hampstead pottery artist Dave Warfield, taking a moment to talk before he fired up his kiln.

"I'm an experimenter," he says, and the raku technique caught his eye some time ago. When his pots destined for raku reach 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit, he removes them and buries them in sawdust or paper. The glaze crackles and the smoldering carbon fills the cracks.

Raku pots won't hold water, so they're considered nonfunctional -- unless you enjoy looking at something beautiful.

Mr. Warfield's display is on exhibit until the end of this month.

*

With ice and snow practically a daily arrival these days, ice hockey seems less foreign than it was a month ago. It's not too late to help two young hockey stars from Carroll County compete against teams from Canada, Alaska, New England and other U.S. regions.

Hampstead's Chuck Henn, 9, and Matt Pinto, 8, of Sykesville have been invited to play in the mite-league National Silver Stick Tournament in Michigan. Chuck and Matt's team of 14 boys represents the five-state Eastern Region.

The team is to board a bus to Michigan Jan. 27. Until Saturday, you can support the expense of the bus by purchasing pizza or raffle tickets to five Washington Capitals games, or by becoming a corporate sponsor.

To support the team, call Coach Dave Henn at 239-3836 or team manager Bruce Moscoe at 410-750-1154 before Saturday.

*

Where do birds go during a snowstorm? More important, where do the bluebirds go?

You might be surprised that bluebirds spend winters in Maryland. They are a protected species, a favored insect-eating songster with beautiful plumage, too.

LeRoy Walker of Millers has single-handedly encouraged our local community of bluebirds. He tends about 80 bluebird houses in North Carroll and last year counted 283 offspring.

At his feeder, he's been placing the bluebirds' favorite: dogwood berries that he saved in his freezer since fall. He also puts out peanut kernels and raisins enjoyed by other birds.

Holly berries seem to be the bluebirds' last choice, but it seems that a full winter of cold and precipitation finally makes the holly berries palatable to them.

"I saw some [local bluebirds], about six or seven, about two weeks ago down in the woods," Mr. Walker said. "I have a feeling that there's knot holes in the maple trees in there, that they've been staying in during this cold weather."

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