All posts tagged Theatre

Interrupting Flo?

Published April 5, 2018 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Ah, the routine! Many may decry the hum and the drum of a regular schedule, but to those of us who dodge the slings and arrows of the classroom, and for some of us, it’s potentially dodging actual bullets, but that’s a tirade for another time.

Anyway, the daily routine of  normal school day is what keeps most of us sane. Unfortunately there are many factors that can disrupt the average. Like the season. It is early April and some of us came back from Spring break and rolled right into an Easter Break. Now we are break free and trying to cram in benchmarks and evaluations and recommendations and weekly assessments in to the last six weeks of school. All of this while occasions such as this morning’s Easter Parade do inform against us.

My school has an Easter Parade featuring our early elementary students in their spring gear pushing/pulling carts and dressed as sunflowers, bumble-bees, etc as they walk down the street and up the driveway.  (It’s terribly cute, especially one little girl in a flower costume, holding up a window box of other flowers, and the Grand Master of the parade,  a round little boy dressed as bee, proudly brandishing his baton. My favorite was a child who refused to do anything but walk grimly with his arms down.  He didn’t see the point of an Easter Parade after Easter.  When I asked him why he didn’t want to wave, he raised one eyebrow at me and said, “Really?” )

This fifteen minute parade disrupted everyone’s entire routine.  The entire school has been in  chaos all day. So now I am the shrew because I refuse to let my kids eat their candy (Our Pre-K buddies sent us some for helping them.) because they won’t stop talking, pushing, shoving and accusing someone of having Cheez-it Farts.   True, i would have some of these problems without an Easter Parade, but part of the problem is that being outside in the blustery wind made everyone’s allergies  act up so I have mountains of Kleenex all over the place and everyone is giving me Disney Eyes because I won’t let them have candy.

My theatrical training has taught me that conflict creates the story; that no story was ever written about the day things went ok, so I should be grateful for the material.

My theatrical training has also taught me that if I had gone the performance route, and was lucky enough to be cast in a recurring role in a commercial, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about money, like every other teacher.

And we’re back.

Because a girl has to try

Published December 11, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Today, while not the craziest day I have had teaching, and is not by far the most challenging, it is a rough day. It’s rough in a hurry up and wait kind of day.

Many years ago when I was in late teens I still fancied myself an actor, even though it was more nerve wracking than fun and I was far too thin skinned to last very long in the business. (In fact the thought of being in “the business” makes me roll my eyes.  You see, friends and neighbors, if you are female and more or less fit into the ingenue category (doe-eyed, more boobs than sense, and a strong endurance for the scent of Aqua Net)  You have a very small window of time to actually attain some level of success. It is a small and very narrow window.  In fact, it is so narrow that at 20 when I weighed a 138 pounds and was a size 7 on the bottom and a 10 on the top, I was STILL too fat to be considered a true ingenue. I would have to lose twenty pounds to at least be in the right shape, week and woozy it may be to audition for the “right” parts.

Anyway, around this time I was an extra in a little film called Born on the Fourth of July, staring a little actor named Tom Cruise. This movie was filmed in North Texas and one of the teachers at my college had an agent who got a whole bunch of students in on the film. Oliver Stone touched my hair and said I was pretty.  I spent a long, chilly day standing outside of the Dallas Convention Center pretending to be a young Republican.

All I can remember of this experience is that if the Film Industry is all hurry up and wait, then I was better off focusing on Theater.

Today the music teacher is staging the Christmas Musical. In the first place, none of the students is feeling particularly malleable, none of the  staff feel particularly festive and no one knows what are schedule is. So all day I have been herding kids from place to place and trying to get at least one piece of information to stick in someone’s head.

On the plus side, BatBeard is safe and I am at the point in my life that if I decide to jump back into show business I am now safely in the Ethnic Character Actress, so at least, I will get to eat.

Well, there you go, part II

Published July 17, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Before anyone goes ber-bonkers looking for part I, I won’t be posting that until tomorrow. But the follow up is fresh in my crowded head so I’m going to put that one up first.  I can explain my process if you want, but I don’t think it’s very interesting.

Today I was meandering through my errands because it’s beastly hot and I didn’t really want to get anything done. As I walked from one place to the next, a woman called out to me and said, “Did you teach at Metro?”

My first teaching gig was teaching a theatre class at an alternative high school. I wasn’t a classroom teacher, but I was part of the curriculum for a psychology/health class. I taught basic acting and playwriting.  My students ranged from an emancipated sixteen year old who was trying to graduate as quickly as possible to go to college to a lesbian couple who was bullied out of their high school. Some students were former gang members and/or returning after dropping out.  Many of my students used the class as a way to process the bizarre events of their lives.

The woman who called out to me was a student of mine about twenty years ago.  We talked for awhile; she has raised four kids, three of her own, one adopted from a family member. She has finished court reporting school and is working and investing in her future.

She told me a little about her kids and the things she tells them about education. As I listened to her, I realized that I had heard some of things before; they were things I recall saying to different classes.

I told her I remember every student I have ever taught.  (I do, I’m just terrible with names.) I do remember her. I remember wondering how she would turn out and if she would survive high school.

She did. She graduated from high school and faced some challenges and is working very hard to instill the value of education in her children.

So there you go.

Almost Important

Published February 14, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

This year has been a valuable learning experience.  I have learned that I can actually live well on very little, mostly because I have time to plan meals and I have a lot of spare don’t-give-a-crap. I am also letting other people help me and I am not refusing to accept the generosity of my family and friends.  My roommate situation is working out well, thanks to my Amanda Friend and her son, Big Kid. My surly cat even has grudgingly approved of the situation.

One of the other lessons I have learned is that I really need to get back to working full-time at something.

I get a great deal of joy out of teaching, mostly because I still have the joy of learning.  Last week I had the pleasure of actually teaching  an English class. There was discomfort involved in reading aloud (that’s a long story and best suited for a blog of its own.)  I get a genuine joy and delight from teaching my tiny little group of fifth and sixth graders. (The kids are average size, the class itself is tiny.)  I love coaching them through the rough spots and am amazed at how easy it is to teach something I truly love.

Both of the teaching jobs are at two of the three schools where I sub. I will be teaching sixth grade at yet another school for a three day run at the first of next month.  To patch over the thin spots, I am doing some freelance editing and writing some specialty articles.  This is by no means difficult work and it is not in anyway lucrative, but it is good for a few extras, like the occasional pricey cookie (MMM LA Madeliene  Linzer Cookies) or my weekly coffee-pancake-Amanda Friend treat.

There are days when I am doing all three jobs (teaching two classes of different types and editing or compiling research.) Those days I feel like I’m running in circles waiting for my face to fall off. And your face falling of for no real good reason is stupid.

So I need to work full time so I can use my writing time for, well, writing.  I have had the creative energy and freedom to participate in two writing contests. My best efforts actually came out really well, if I do say so myself.  If the judges agree, I will make enough in prize money to get me through the summer.  I am not going to count on this, so I’m going to be on the scrounge very soon for a source of consistent cash for that three months. I hope to return to a classroom in the fall.

There are a few things I want to address in future blogs. These are ideas that occurred to me as I observe students and life in general.

  1. Our children are under a lot of pressures, both academic and social
  2. There are worse things than no WiFi
  3. Comfortable shoes are worth their weight in gold.
  4. Everyday someone is redefining normal
  5. Everyone’s acknowledgement of the freakshow doesn’t get you out of the circus.

And many, many other things.

Dean Koontz’s Ashley Bell was great and may have dented my brain a little.

Low on spoons around here

Published January 21, 2016 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

Jenny Lawson is amazing. I have both of her books on audiobook and I listen to them whenever I need a boost of awesome.   She explained a person’s daily energy as being a set number of spoons, and that number varies on a person’s age, medical history, etc.  Listening to her absolved me of any guilt I feel about having to stop myself before I drop (myself).

After a full night’s sleep, I somehow managed to wake up with one spoon. It wasn’t even a big spoon. I’m not really sure if it was an actual spoon, it might have been one of those little wooden paddles you sometimes get with ice cream cups. (That has always confused me, why wood? Has anyone ever gotten a splinter from one of these?)  I have been lugging around that spoon as if it were a ladle full of lead all morning.

Yesterday I had a great day. I covered a first grade class in the morning. (Math, mass and handwriting, lots of wiggling and tattling.) In the afternoon, I held my first after school theatre class and although the class was full (16!) and super high energy, it was amazing!

I was a little concerned as to how it would go; the principal told me that my lesson plans were a little more structured than they were used to.  (This impressed me. I am very laid back and I wondered if perhaps the other teacher simply used static electricity to control her students.)

I outlined clear expectations and kept them on a tight schedule. They did a great job and they were disappointed that class was over too soon.

Now I’m exhausted. But with both jobs and a freelance editing thing I managed to make exactly enough to get by this week.

Snaps to the NY Daily News.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.


U b ILling

Published February 24, 2015 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

And just like that, Run DMC can show you the way. Things, indeed, be illin’ both and and outside the lines.

I am finally feeling better. It SUCKS being sick and being a teacher. I took one sick day and returned to school dragging myself through production week and many, many, lessons with many, many children, most of whom did not care that I was feverish and had little to no voice. (There were few who would, indeed, alert the authorities if I actually passed out or drop dead.)

I also survived my first Initial’s Competition.

I do not like taking students to a competition as opposed to a festival. It angries up the blood and teaches young artists that it is more important to dance inside the monkey’s cage to 30 seconds of approved tune as opposed to create art that is truly representative of the individual.

(I know, revolutionary talk about artistic individuality can get me run out of town on a rail.)

This whole competition left a bitter fore taste in my mouth. I have been part of tournaments and competitions before and it did nothing to encourage me to achieve, unless you count making me so stubborn and filled with rage and vitriol that I will do my damndest to succeed even if it kills me.

(Don’t ask me to prove it. I will.)

I absolutely do not understand why people in authority think it’s perfectly all right to degrade other people? I know this is a mystery for the ages and I personally find it insane. When I lived in Farmington, it amazed me that the Library Director had seemingly gone mad with power.  That is not hyperbole. I think she’s a lunatic driven by the fact that she is a queen bee with access to a superb staff and many, many laser printers. But really, it’s still Farmington.

This mad with power thing eludes me.

My students did an excellent job. They did the most important things in Theatre. They showed up. They performed in the moment to the best of their ability. They looked fantastic. They set up the show and started on time on their own.  They were courteous to each other and to their director.

I just hate that there were adults who insisted on treating them badly.

I think I have the proof

Published December 20, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

I have often thought the universe mocks me and I have mentioned a time or two that I strongly suspect that I am the pawn between good and evil.

I have been so busy that I haven’t had time to finish a thought, let alone an actual project. Now it is the first night of Winter Break and I am taking some time to reflect. (I actually really hate using “reflect” as a verb.)

The stress zit that I used to get every September in celebration/consternation of the Fall Show at Fort Worth Theatre. It took me years to convince my skin that I did not need a memorial blemish.

The stress zit finally caught up to me and my new schedule.

The Winter Play went off, not hitchless but it was well received. It was largely student written and directed and featured 50 students.  The parents loved it and their were only two diva meltdowns(neither of them mine.)

The big post show let down was that I still had to teach a full day today.  I am over the firm belief that students should be sedated at noon on the day before a break as the teachers slowly ride out the day.

On the way home, my sluggish transmission started making a horrible sound.

My stress zit was so huge I think it actually grazed the windshield. It is possible that it grew when I heard the sound my engine was making

As I look back on this week, I am tired. Several of my students said they love me. I told them I love each of them individually, as a group, they drive me crazy.

I may be able to make more sense tomorrow.

The cat wants me to stop typing now.