Alexander Pope, one of the most renown English poets of the 18th century suffered from a lifelong and debilitating disease which left him physically deformed and hunchbacked. He was acutely aware of the lack of control we have in our own lives. We can’t control the rolls of the dice only what we do with the outcome of those rolls.

“ACT WELL YOUR PART; FOR THERE IN ALL HONOR LIES.”

Alexander Pope

Though Pope’s artistic medium was poetry this quote of his is often used by theater artists as something to which we should all aspire. No matter our role, on stage or off, many lines or none, the best we can do is play well our part. The honor is in the quality of what we do, NOT in the role.

This is something I hope we as a theater community can practice over and over and over this year.

If you are just joining us, WELCOME and THANK YOU for being here. I can promise you this. You are entering a community known as theater. There is never a dull moment. So strap in and enjoy the ride. 🙂

I’d like to take a quick moment to introduce you to some of the amazing folks who make all of this work. This place would not exist without them. Not only is this a heartfelt and public thank you, my hope is that you’re able to connect with each of these people during your time at La Salle. Get to know them a bit. I think you’ll be pretty darn impressed.

Our current production team for Puffs are:

Director: Michael Shelton [that’s me for incoming families and new folks just subscribing.]

Choreographer: Nikki Meyer [who is also our Dance Coach. Shout it out the to dance team!!!]

Lighting Designer: Dan Elsner

Costume Designer: Marychris Mass

Parent Coordinator | Front of House Manager: Sarah Madrigal

Scenic Designer: TBD [holler at me if you’re interested or you know someone.]…Seriously…

When we thrive, when we rise, it because of the service, heart and vision of these people.

If we don’t…well it’s usually because I didn’t listen to them. 🙂

Speaking of the fall show, we will be structuring our production schedule differently then we ever have before.

Historically we have roughly 8-10 weeks from the day of auditions to produce the fall show. That is the same this year.

Usually, we audition actors during the 2nd week of school and actors rehearse anywhere from 1 – 3 times a week, depending on the needs of the show and the design and production crews work 2 times a week. Essentially we are tag teaming everything.

That seems to work pretty well.

Puffs, is a very funny comedy. However, much of that comedy is reliant on special effects, costume changes, props, exacting sound cues, etc. So, this time around we’re going to start with the design and production crews the 2nd week of September and work 3 days a week, instead of our usual 2 and just focus on building the set, designing and constructing props and costumes, etc, etc, etc.

Actors will not audition until late[ish] September and wouldn’t start proper rehearsals until October. Come October actors will be rehearsing 3-4 times a week instead of the 1-3. During those October rehearsals, sound crew will be in the booth running cues, actors will be using props, running crew will be doing scenic changes, etc. My view is that given the specific requirements of this show, it makes more sense to have the actors rehearsing with the items, until having them start without the items and wait until later in the process. Physical comedy is hard, it takes time to master the jokes and I think our kiddos will have a better experience and the show will be more precise and enjoyable for everyone if we reverse our usual production process.

This may be as clear as mud. That’s okay. The KEY take-away is this:

* Your student[s] will be putting in roughly the same amount of hours they do over the 8-10 weeks; however, those hours are going to be chunked. For example, if your student is on scenic construction crew, instead of 2 days a week for September and October, the plan is 3 days a week through September. If you’re an actor, instead of 1-3 rehearsals a week through September and October, it’s 3-4 a week chunked into October.

Aside from the practicalities of this schedule for this particular production, there’s a more personal reason I’m structuring things this way.

And that brings us the TMI section. #bingecringe. My wife, Meriah, the love of life, had major surgery this past Thursday, August 11th. She’s on strict bedrest until August 25th, at the absolute earliest. For those of you ticking away the timeline to the start of school, yes, that means I will not be available, in person, during teacher in-service week. In preparation of that, I’ve been coming in during the summer to get the various theater spaces ready to go. AND with the help of our incredible ITS student leadership team, who are also coming in to do some cool projects, we are ready for the school year!

Assuming there are no complications. Assuming recovery is going as expected, which is what Meriah and I are hoping for, the absolute earliest I could be available to physically be on campus is August 26th. Meriah will not be cleared to resume normal activity until at least September 22nd.

Hopefully, this isn’t the case, but quite possibly there are complications and I’m not available the first few days of school, possibly the first week or two. Administration and myself are working on the plan should that be the case.

Will that happen? Probably Not.

Is it a possibility? Yes.

Why am I telling you all this aside from #bingecringe? The beginning of the year will be interesting to say the least. I am grateful for all of you. I appreciate all of you. I’m so humbled to be a part of the La Salle community and the flexibility and grace you extent to me and my family. This is going to be an incredible school year. A fantastic and hilarious fall comedy with some learning and growth for everyone throughout the process, including recovery and the challenges those bring to the start of the year.

A huge favor for those of you who are seasoned in all of this. We are excited because there are 42 incoming freshmen who have expressed interest in the La Salle Theater program. That’s an incredible number! Seasoned theater members out there, fi you would be willing to take up the mantel of reaching out to those families, inviting them to be a part of what we do here; basically partnering with me, as I may have limited physical presence the first couple of weeks, to make new and transfer students feel welcomed and excited to bravely step into our theater community.

That would be such a gift.

Well, now that I’ve gone on for over a thousand words, and shared changes and TMI’d you and followed that up by asking you a favor, it seems like a good time to sign off. 🙂

Give me a holler if you have any questions, ideas, concerns, inspirations, I want to hear them all.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and I’ll see you all soon.

Aloha,
Michael