Today — a guest post by Corrie Van Ausdal, our four-week musical director!
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A Postcard from the 4 Week Musical, GODZILLA
This year’s show is beginning to take shape, scene by scene, week by week! In addition to the actors, this year there are 3 independent creative teams, two of which are led by campers. I thought I’d pause from rehearsal for a moment to give you a sneak peek at what your kids are doing this month. Four Week Musical Practice happens five nights a week from five to six-thirty, and after a big group check in we divide up and get to work.
The Visual Effects team have been learning about shadow puppetry techniques, storyboarding and are creating dozens of visual effects for the production. These effects range from simple scenic backgrounds, some of which have movement, to fully animated narrative sequences, all of which they will operate live during the production. These three campers are mostly self-directed and receive feedback periodically from a staff advisor or specific task assignments from me. The VFX team and indeed the whole show got a boost from visiting master puppeteer Heidi Rugg, who took notes on our first read, helped us make a plan of attack, and introduced us to some shadow puppetry basics.
The camper-led Sound Effects team are exploring the sonic boundaries of their instruments and figuring out how to produce the live sound effects they will perform during the show. This week they spent some time in my apartment watching and listening to the original 1954 Godzilla (Gojira) and breaking down the sounds into their parts in order to recreate them. They’re perfecting a nuanced, layered “ROAR” for our monster.
The set and prop builders are led by dorm counselor Jocelyn Wilkinson. These two powerful young women spent the first couple of days learning about tool safety and have since decamped to the south end of the gym where they are generating piles of sawdust and some very impressive setpieces. They have spent their weekday evenings sawing and drilling and 3D problem solving and will soon be painting and eventually hanging our few lights.
The rest of us have immersed ourselves in the world of B movie-style acting. We are finding stylistic inspiration from many corny sources, including the Poseidon Adventure, The Original Star Trek, Fox News and especially all the dedicated B actors who put their heart and soul into bad dialog and fake fight scenes. Looking forward, our challenge for the next week and a half will be to put all the pieces together into one polished play for our performances on Thursday, August 1st and Saturday, August 3rd. Repeat campers’ parents will be thrilled to hear that there is now air conditioning in the Collection Room where we perform. The break from humidity has definitely helped our practices!
We look forward to showing you the fruits of our labors in a couple of weeks, and thanks for raising fearless kids with fierce imaginations!
— Corrie Van Ausdal, Four Week Musical Director