Cast of Stage Wars

Cast of Stage Wars
Meet the Cast of Stage Wars!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mrs. Dragoon's Office with Shem and TJ

Setting: Mrs. Dragoon sits at her desk, peering at two theater students. Shem and TJ sit opposite her, nervous.

Mrs. Dragoon: Boys, I've called you into my office today because something strange is going on.

TJ: Strange?

Shem: Are we in trouble?

Mrs. Dragoon: (leans forward, eyeing him suspiciously) Have you done something that makes you think you might be in trouble?

Shem: (gulps) Not that I know of.

Mrs. Dragoon: Well, then, no one's in trouble—yet. (folds her hands)

Shem: (sighs) That's a relief.

TJ: Shembo, you worry too much.

Mrs. Dragoon: Shem-bo? (glances at TJ, then Shem)

TJ: It's his nickname.

Shem: No, it's not! I'm just Shem.

Mrs. Dragoon: Well, then, just Shem, what's going on with you two?

Shem: What do you mean?

Mrs. Dragoon: (drums her fingers on the desk) For a couple of years, you two have avoided each other like the plague. Now, all of a sudden you're Laurel and Hardy?

TJ: Who?

Mrs. Dragoon: Donny and Marie.

TJ: Huh?

Shem: I get it. She means two people who work together like they know what the other 
person's thinking before they do something. Like Batman and Robin.

TJ: Oh, I get it.

Mrs. Dragoon: So, what's up? Why the big change? Not that I mind. But, I'm strangely curious about this transformation in you, TJ. Why are you suddenly getting along with Shem? And Shem, what made you become friends with TJ?

Shem: (squirms in his seat) I, uh, well, it all started when—

TJ: I got sick.

Mrs. Dragoon: You got sick and—?

TJ: Shem helped me.

Shem: (nods) That's right.

Mrs. Dragoon: (eyes squinting) Let me get this straight. TJ, you got sick, and Shem came running to your house to help you?

TJ: Not exactly at my house. We weren't at home or school.

Shem: He turned awful green. Kind of scary.

Mrs. Dragoon: And you dropped everything and rescued him? Just like that?

Shem: (shrugs) There wasn't anyone else around. Then we got in a bit of a pickle. And—

TJ: I returned the favor by helping him. So we're even. (grins)

Mrs. Dragoon: (purses her lips) And now you're best friends?

TJ: Best might be stretching it. I tolerate him. He tolerates me.

Shem: (frowns) Actually, we've been getting along a lot better ever since we helped each other and made it back home alive—I mean, safe and sound. Not sick. That sort of thing. It's hard to explain.

Mrs. Dragoon: Try me.

TJ: Does this have anything to do with our drama grade?

Mrs. Dragoon: No.

TJ: And we're not in trouble?

Mrs. Dragoon: No. But I've seen you laughing together! And look at the way Island of Shalamar came together. It was almost miraculous the way you two worked together in practices those last two weeks and onstage for the performances. I'll never forget it.

Shem: I'm glad we don't hate each other anymore. That was wrong, and I feel badly about it. I kept being jealous of him. And he—

TJ: I was going through rough times. Mad at the world. That's improved a lot, now that I've started being thankful for my grandparents taking me into their home, instead of feeling grumpy at them. They're real nice, and my grandma's a great cook. But you know the situation with my dad, right?

Mrs. Dragoon: I do, and I'm sorry about that, TJ. You've done remarkably well to come to terms with your life and accept your grandparents' love. You're fortunate to have them.

TJ: I know. And a lot of that is because of Shem. He helped me sort through that stuff.

Shem: I did?

TJ: (nods) And since Shem and I are interested in the same things, we've been spending more time hanging out. You know, doing theater, adventures, spinning.

Shem: TJ— (shakes head discreetly)

Mrs. Dragoon: Spinning?

TJ: It used to make me puke. Spinning on a merry-go-round, going on rides at amusement parks, that sort of thing. Now, I'm practicing spinning on the playground to get used to it. The next time I go for a twirl-til-you-puke sort of ride, there won't be any problems. (laughs confidently)

Mrs. Dragoon: (confused) Huh.

Shem: So, you see, our experiences made us understand each other better and we learned how important friendship is. Hard times make you see things differently, wouldn't you agree, Mrs. Dragoon?

Mrs. Dragoon: I suppose I would. (sighs) And that's it? Sickness and working through some hard times changed your friendship forever?

TJ: Yep.

Shem: (nods) May we go, Mrs. Dragoon? TJ and I have some practicing to do.

Mrs. Dragoon: (waves her hand toward the door) Yes, you may go. I'll see you in class tomorrow.

Shem & TJ: Bye, Mrs. Dragoon. (exit quickly)

Mrs. Dragoon: Goodbye. (shakes head) Something strange is going on with those two. I can smell it. What's the deal with spinning? If a merry-go-ride made me sick, you wouldn't catch me on it. I'm going to watch those boys. They're up to something suspicious, and I'm determined to find out what.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Debz and Claire Chat 1

Debz: How's your story coming along?

Claire: Good. I decided to put you in my book.

Debz: What???

Claire: Yeah, well, since Shem, TJ, Mista, and I are in it, I thought you should be there too.

Debz: Thanks, but who's Mista?

Claire: Oh, she's, uh, well, you know. I named the book after her.

Debz: A fictional character, right?

Claire: You could say that. Kind of like . . . she's out of this world.

Debz: Yeah, I like characters in books or plays like that. You know, the ones who really stick with you and make you think about their world.

Claire: Mista is just such a character. In fact, her name's in the title: A Time for Mista.

Debz: I remember you telling us that. Is she a princess or something?

Claire: No, she's an ordinary girl. Shem says she kind of looks like me.

Debz: How would he know?

Claire: Oh, well, I mean, in the story, you know. (laughs self-consciously)

Debz: And Shem is...

Claire: Shemtron. The hero. He's a knight, really. Stands for honor and justice and all that good stuff.

Debz: Shemtron. (giggles) I can't wait to read it.

Claire: Yeah, that's what everybody says.

Question for Cammie 1

Do you like being in a production with your brother?

Cammie laughs loudly.

Would you want to be in a show with your show-off brother? I mean, he's so competitive about getting the part he wants. He can't hardly eat or sleep days before auditions. Then after auditions? He clenches his jaw and gets a super-scary intense-looking face, and he just sits there brooding. We live on an apple orchard, and we both have chores to do. But he wants to sit there and think about what he could have done better at auditions. Not me. I go to auditions, try out the very best I can, then pretty much, I forget about it until Monday morning when Mrs. Dragoon posts the Cast List on the theater's red door. 

But . . . once practices actually start, I don't mind having my brother in the show with me. We both love Youth Theater, and it's fun to see him become another character. I had a blast playing the part of Jester in Island of Shalamar. And I can't wait until next spring when I'll try out for the next GBCA production. In the mean time, I hear there's a Christmas play going on for our youth group at church. Maybe, I'll try out for that. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Theater with Shem Tip 1

You've got to open your mouth when you speak.
Yeah, I know, everybody opens their mouth when they talk, right? But haven't you seen how some people mumble with their mouth barely open? Almost as if they have their hand over their lips.

If you've got something to say, open your mouth and speak up. Don't cover the sound from escaping.

Instead, open your mouth and talk from your diaphragm. What's a diaphragm, you might ask. Well, here's a good trick. Put your hand flat on your belly. Now, say “Ho-ho-ho” loud. Your hand should rise and fall with the strongly said words. Try it again, say the words softly, then strong, pulsing your words out. This is a good exercise to see if you're talking with strength or not. Now, open your mouth and speak anything you want, using your diaphragm muscles. Or belt out “Ho-ho-ho” and see who's listening. That's always fun.

Remember, speak loud, strong, and confident!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Claire's Story 1

Hi . . . I'm Claire.
I'm supposed to tell you a story. But, instead of telling you one of my stories, perhaps I'll share something about these actors I've gotten to know at Green Bluff Creative Academy. Did you hear they were doing a great big production called Island of Shalamar? Well, I went to Opening Night and the other three shows, and let me tell you, it was one fantastical production. Shem did great. I mean, his voice sounded kingly and everything. And Debz— Wow! She looked fabulous. Like a real queen. She even walked regal. They convinced me I was catching a glimpse of life in the royal palace of Shalamar. Now, Shalamar is my kind of place, because I love writing medieval stories myself. But if I were writing this tale, I would have included a white horse. He'd swoop through the air and save the day. But that's just me. I like fantasies about taming dragons and capturing bad guys, and beautiful white horses. You see, I've been writing a book about . . . well, I said I wasn't going to tell you about that. Not today.

So, I had this dream. I know, a dream is just a dream, right? Have you ever had one of those dreams that seems totally real? Scary real? That was me. I dreamed, or I think I dreamed, about going back into the past on a time machine Professor Plunkmeyer built and left under the stage at Green Bluff Academy. In the dream, I hid in the time cart under a big coat so the professor wouldn't see me. I heard Shem and TJ went back in time—and were lost. And because I loooove history, I wanted to try it too. But do you know what I do when I spin around on a crazy death-defying spinning ride? I do this: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Now, in the dream, Shem and TJ were crazy surprised to see me in York, England. All I wanted to do was look at everything and draw as much as I could so I'd never forget. But when I woke up back in my bed, I was disappointed. Only a dream? Sigh. But when I got to school and talked to Shem and TJ...we all wondered . . . could it be real? Or was it a dream of all dreams like we'd never forget?
More on that later . . . 

Shem and TJ Chat 1

Shem: I can't help it. I arrive at play practice early. I have my lines memorized. I—

TJ: Don't have a life.

Shem: What d'ya mean?

TJ: You can't live and eat theater.

Shem: Why not?

TJ: There's got to be other things too.

Shem: Sure. I eat. Love pizza. (shrugs) Work in the apple orchard sometimes.

TJ: And for fun—?

Shem: Dragoon's Palace is the place I want to be. Unless, of course, it's the last two weeks before a show. Then I want to be at McBride Theater. Nowhere else.

TJ: Ah, Shembo.

Shem: Don't start that Shembo stuff again.

TJ: I can't believe you're forgetting the really big zippity-do-dah thing in our lives right now.

Shem: You're not talking about girls, are you?

TJ: Nope.

Shem: (thinks) Christmas auditions?

TJ: NO! You know... (looks over his shoulder making sure no one is listening) Time Spinner.

Shem: Oh, that.

TJ: Oh, that. Oh, that!!!!!

(Shem laughs)

TJ: So...what are we going to do about it?

Shem: Nothing.

TJ: Nothing? You've got to be kidding.

Shem: Why? You feeling like puking all over someone?

TJ: (grimaces) Not especially.

Shem: Well, then, it's settled.

TJ: You're no fun.

Shem: Yeah, yeah, yeah.