Sunday, April 1, 2012

BQ!... basically

Last night my husband and his merry band of theater students qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Chew on that for a minute.


Bear with me. This will make sense in a few paragraphs.

For the last two days, Scott and his kids participated in the New Hampshire Educational Theater Guild's State Festival. In order to do THAT, a school has to qualify at a Regional Festival. These festivals offer high school theater programs an opportunity to prepare and perform a short play (up to 40 minutes) for an audience of their peers and adjudicators. They get 5 minutes to put up their set and 5 minutes to take it down. It's a day (or 2 days) that the kids and Scott look forward to every year because they learn SO much from watching other shows and from hearing feedback from the judges. Also, let's admit, it's fantastic for these kiddos to be with a majority of like-minded dramatic-types for a couple of days!
The Seniors involved in the production.

This year the Kingswood show was called "Star Crossed Lovers". It retells Romeo & Juliet (perhaps you've heard of it?) through several different theater genres across the ages. There is everything from a "Dumb Show" (basically Cave Men speaking "ugga bugga" but acting out the major plot points of R&J) to depresso-Russian to 1930s Broadway.

The show.was.phenomenal. I've never heard adjudicators offer so much positive feedback and so few points for improvement. They noted that this show had it all: incredible energy, a flair for the ridiculous (which was necessary for this piece), visually awesome sets, costumes and technical direction, and a live jazz band (the music of which was almost completely composed by the students themselves).... Oh, and did I mention the acting from every single performer - from the exceptionally multi-talented leads to the crew member in black holding a tree and becoming exquisitely and comically forlorn as its branches were chopped down - was absolutely dead-on. And, for the first time ever, Scott's crew won a trip to New Englands at the end of the month... which means ("Oklahoma!" fans take note) "they've gone about as fur as they kin go!"

This photo doesn't do the creative work ANY justice... but I filched it off FB so I can't complain!
So yes, TECHNICALLY they didn't qualify for Boston, but metaphorically they TOTALLY did. Their incredible feat and the incredible (for most mortals!) feat of making the Boston cutoff compare quite nicely.

To qualify for Boston it can take YEARS of training and sacrifice. You need to try different races and different plans (some you make up yourself) and condition yourself that patience is key.

To qualify for New Englands, it took Scott 10 years (!) of attending festival. He tried different genres and scripts (some he wrote himself) and conditioned himself (and his students) that patience is key.

To qualify for Boston means that you have achieved something that most runners (let alone your Average Joe/Jane) will never attain. You don't need to tell a soul (though why wouldn't you?) and you can always carry that accomplishment in your pocket when life is getting you down.

To qualify for New Englands means that you have achieved something that most theater folk (let alone your Average Joe/Jane) will never attain. You don't need to tell a soul (though everyone else will tell everyone THEY know, so the world will know anyway!) and you can always carry that accomplishment in your pocket when life is getting you down.

When I BQ'd, I thought about just enjoying the accomplishment and forgoing the actual race. I changed my mind and registered. The plan at that point was to train for the race but to keep in mind that the point of Boston, for me, anyway, was to have The Experience. Take in the enormity of the place and the occasion. Soak up the love from the screaming Wellesley Women... all that jazz. Obviously I wanted to have a good race, but this was not going to be a place for me to go for any kind of PR.

Before the group qualified for New Englands, Scott figured if they DID qualify, they would celebrate their accomplishment but probably wouldn't go.... and that would be okay. (New Englands is during Spring Break this year and there will be some key cast and crew on far away, long-planned trips).  But, when he surveyed his students, they overwhelmingly voted to patch up the pieces they needed to patch and take the show to the next level. The great part about this is, like Boston, the pressure is completely off and they can enjoy the experience. There are no adjudicators. There is no "next" to qualify for. They will spend 3 days in workshops (run by various theater professors from around the state), performing shows, bonding with theater kids from the 6 New England states.... Obviously they want to put together a good show, but the overall experience is far more important to them at this point.

I have to get my butt in gear this morning, but here's how Tommy summed it up today when he learned that there were no "bigger trophies" that Dad could win: "Wow, you musta done really well in making people laugh.... your plays just keep getting funnier and funnier, Dad."

Who could ask for anything more?

No comments:

Post a Comment