Annie—The Four Shows
Being in Annie has been one of the best experiences of my life. My favorite part of the whole thing, the part that I would love to live through again and again, day after day, is the performance. No matter how many times we perform the show, I swear, I will never get tired of it.
Thursday: opening night. That day, the whole school was filled with Annie spirit. Everyone who was on the Annie cast or crew wore their Annie t-shirts. It was a gray t-shirt with the Annie design on the front and our school name on the sleeve. I have never had a group t-shirt before, so the Annie shirt was special to me. I proudly wore it and high-fived people around the hallways. It was fun being part of something that was bigger than myself, especially when I was an important part of that “something” (I was one of the three Assistant Director).We had been working hard, rehearsing for hours and hours after school for three and a half months. And that Thursday, our hard work would finally pay off!
That afternoon, I rode the bus home. I had not riden the bus home for such a long time due to Annie rehearsals right after school. It was strange, doing something normal again. The three-hour wait at home was agony. Finally, at 6:00 PM, I went back to the school to prepare for our first show that was going to start in an hour.
There was a long hallway blocked off for just the cast and crew. There were five sings posted saying “CAST AND CREW ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT”, and a kid stationed there to keep the parents out. You’d think that with the five signs, people would get the point, but apparently every parent thought he/she was special. At the far end of that hallway, hidden from the audience, the cast put on their costumes and make-up. That was basically all we did for the first forty-five minutes. Since I wasn’t in the cast, I just stood by and watched. How I wish I had brought a camera! During that forty-five minutes, a transformation occurred. Costumes, wigs, and make-up, and some baby powder turned everybody in the cast from modern-day teenagers into orphans, servants, and adults living in the 1930’s. Even the boys had to put on make-up!
When everybody was done, we had a meeting in Mr. T’s room. The directors reminded us to be loud and energetic, to project our voices. Mrs. C gave a a really emotional speech about how she is so proud of us, and how special we are to her. She said that every other member of her family had some sort of trophy or certificate on display in their house, something they were proud of. She was the only one who didn't have anything—because what she was proud of was us, the Annie cast and crew. Her family was out there that night, and she was really excited to show them how amazing we would be. After we all gave her a big round of applause, Mrs. W brought us back down to earth with her speech: turn off all cell phones, no food in the backstage area, be loud and articulate, ect. That was all. And then….it was time.
We were a few minutes late. By the time J---, G---, and I (the three Assistant Directors) ran up to the stage, the lights were already down. We gave a quick announcement welcoming everybody and reminding them to turn off their phones and routine things like that. I tried to sound welcoming by smiling and looking directly at the audience, instead of just reading monotonously from the sheet like J--- did. I felt not the least bit nervous, up there in front of almost three hundred people. The audience clapped, the introductory music started, and we all went to our assigned places. I was prompting (just in case the actors forget their lines), so I had the best seat: right in front of the people in the first row, at the very edge of the stage. And I didn’t even have to buy a ticket!
My job was to prompt, but the actors didn’t need me at all! There was a little slip-up when the butler accidentaly put the jacket on Daddy Warbucks upside-down. They fixed it, though, with the butler saying “sorry” and Daddy Warbucks saying “It’s alright, Drake. Everybody make mistakes.” That got a laugh out of the audience, because everybody knew that wasn't planned. Another opening-night mistake was when I went to help the stage crew, somebody else tripped over me. Carrying a table! She didn’t see me crouched behind her cleaning up the floor, so she almost fell on top of me. I was glad it was semi-dark because or else everybody would have seen me turn beet red in embarassment.
Aside from those two tiny slip-ups, our opening night went great! It was a little rusty: the actors skipped a few lines, the stage crew took a little too long between the transitions, and I sometimes felt that the singers weren’t energetic enough. However, for opening night, it was amazing! The audience didn’t see a lot of the mistakes, and with the ones they did see, they were very generous. They laughed during the parts that went wrong, because they knew it was our first time performing, so they weren’t too hard on us.
Friday: second show. The show with a full house, meaning every ticket was sold out. Every seat was filled. And sadly, it was our worst show out of all four. Things went the same as the day before, except we experienced lots of microphone trouble. The mikes were going on and off, sometimes working, sometimes not, and sometimes producing weird noises. That made everyone really worried, and because they were worried, they lost a lot of their happy energy. M---’s voice was shaky and nervous instead of confident and welcoming. At first, I thought it was just because of the mike trouble, but later I found out that she was really, really sick. She would nott have went to school that day if she did not have to perform in Annie.
Because of the mike trouble and M---’s sickness, we didn’t perform very well. The audience did not responde as well either. However, they still thought it was a really good show, despite all the mess-ups. I guess I just felt that it was really bad because I knew how good it could be. For a regular show, it was pretty good. Just not as good as it could’ve been. The only up side was that I brought a camera and took lots of pictures.
Saturday afternoon: our matinee performance. Our best performance out of all four. It was also the peformance that my parents attended so I was very excited. Before the show, the directors gave us a pep talk about how important it was for us to keep that energy and believability as all the other night. They said that usually, the third performance is the one with least energy and most mistakes, because people think they’re already really good at it and don’t pay as much attention to their acting as before. Opening night, everyone is excited. Friday night, because there was a big audience, everybody paid attention. But the matinee show is usually where people loose their spark. The directors praised everyone about how well they did on Friday, and said that they need to be exactly like Friday that afternoon. However, I disagreed. I really wanted to shout at everyone to be louder, have more energy, and during the pillow fight scene, to be more aggressive. However, being only an Assistant Director and not a teacher, I could not voice my valuable opinions.
It came as a big surprise, then, when we did so well that afternoon. Even the directors were surprised. They had expected the matinee show to be the worst, and it turned out to be the best. No slip ups occurred at all. Everybody was so energetic. All the actors were loud. The mikes gave us no trouble. Everything was perfect. It was a really smooth and clean performance. My mom was completely blown away. She had expected a crappy, middle-school show, and instead, she saw this amazing, professional, and intriguing performance. My mom does not get amazed very easily, so having her be amazed by our Annie performance was like being declared the winners of the Oscars.
Saturday night: last show. The show that all my friends came to. And it went pretty well! There was a tiny bit of mike trouble at the beginning of Act 1, but it quickly got fixed. Everything else was perfect. The only down part was that the audience was not as responsive as that afternoon. During the matinee show, not only did we perform well, our audience was the best. They laughed at all the jokes, and gasped at all the surprises. They responded exactly how we wanted them to. That night, they were a bit more silent. However, it was still pretty good! Our second best performance, by my opinion.
As we approached the end of the show, the mood within the cast and crew shifted. We were all aware that Annie was drawing to a close. Some of the 8th graders who had been in all of our HMS productions since 6th grade were getting a little teary-eyed, because it was our last year at HMS. When the bows started and the girl who played Annie came out to take a bow, we could see that her eyes were glittering with tears. Then, the bows were over. The audience dissipated. We went back to our “Cast and Crew Only” hallway, and changed out of our Annie costumes. In the girl’s changing room, everybody was crying. I wasn’t, but when I went in there and people started asking me for hugs, I started getting a stinging feeling behind my eyes too. So I quickly left the girl’s room, not wanting to cry in front of everyone.
We spent so much time rehearsing and practicing. We put so much energy into the shows. Performing them was the best thing ever. It was amazing being able to bring joy and entertainment to our audience. And then, BOOM, it was over. It was done so fast! What I wouldn’t give to live through those nights over and over again, to expereince that perfomance high I get whenever the house lights go down the stage light come on every night. But that wasn’t possible. I’m a student, not a professing Assistant Director. And now it’s time to go back to the normal student life again.
|心桥 (2014-03-12 16:21:05)|
祝贺 Annie 剧组演出成功！Drama 是美国中学最好的选修课之一，对孩子的表达能力，团体合作能力等是很好的锻炼。很高兴看到 Annie 成为 Susan 最美好的记忆。
对孩子来讲，家庭气氛比任何物质都重要。你们对 Susan 的爱和支持，对她的成长是无价之宝，任何金钱都买不到的。
|周小哭 (2014-03-12 17:13:21)|
|司马冰 (2014-03-13 02:55:10)|
|周小哭 (2014-03-13 03:43:34)|