Author Topic: Working with a younger cast  (Read 1304 times)

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Bradley

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Working with a younger cast
« on: Jan 14, 2012, 08:26 pm »
I'm about to start working on a production of Pippi Longstocking at a community theatre.  This will be the second show I have SM'ed and I have worked with the company before as well as most of the production team both as a SM and an actor.  However, the show will more than likely have a cast that is mostly young children (elementary/middle school).  To date, the youngest group of actors I have stage managed is high school students, with which I had already established a working rapport.  However, working with a completely new batch of young children makes me a little nervous.  Has anyone worked with younger actors and have any words of advice for me?

cserendipity

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Re: Working with a younger cast
« Reply #1 on: Jan 15, 2012, 10:37 am »
I worked on a production of Annie last year as the SM and had no ASM, so I could only be in so many places at once and during the productions I moved set pieces and props backstage. 

Don't be afraid to ask for a second set of hands to help "babysit."  Depending on the amount of time they are actually onstage, having someone to wrangle the kids, help keep the kids quiet and out of the way when they aren't onstage, etc., can be a great help.   A few of the mom's volunteered to sit backstage with the kids to keep the quiet during the run of the show.  (A word of caution:  try not to pick a stage parent or parent who puts a lot of pressure on their kids as it can add to the nervousness...)  It was immeasurably helpful to not have to worry about them getting into trouble. 

For rehearsals, encourage them to bring books, homework, and other quiet projects for them to work on.  Keeping them entertained is key.

The one thing I was not expecting was for 10 year olds to bring cell phones to rehearsal.  And no matter how many times I told them that the phones had to be turned off, there were days when phones would ring.... or they would sneak into the back of the theatre and play games (which would inevitably have sound effects)... which got a bit frustrating.

Most of all, be patient.  It's easy to get frustrated and lose your cool, but remember that they are kids and just want to have fun.  So do what you can to make things fun but keep things professional and rehearsals running smoothly at the same time. 
If Plan A didn't work... the alphabet has 25 more letters.

SMrose

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Re: Working with a younger cast
« Reply #2 on: Jan 15, 2012, 04:12 pm »
I would also add to make sure all communication is not only going to the young actors but to a parent or guardian.  Notes and emails (things in writing) help keep the adults in the loop.  I also asked that parents personally drop off and pick up the young actors: I know some adults weren't happy with this request, but they are minors and checking in/out not only gave me an opportunity to communicate to the parent(s) but I knew they were safely in the hands of their parent when they left the facility.

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ChaCha

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Re: Working with a younger cast
« Reply #3 on: Jan 16, 2012, 09:04 am »
Good luck with kids. I expect you will have a lot of fun.

You might find some helpful ideas in these older threads...

http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,1452.msg38275.html#msg38275

http://smnetwork.org/forum/index.php/topic,2990.msg18234.html#msg18234

cheers
ChaCha
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