Monday, August 17, 2009

Alexander's First Day of School

Hi, my name is Alex. I'm 5 and a half and today was my first day of school in kindergarten. I got up and had breakfast. I had shredded wheat and Fruity Cheerios mixed together with Almond Milk. I put my clothes on and then we got in the car. After my Mommy got her coffee for the day, we went to my school.

After I got to school, I went into my classroom. I have nine kids in my class. I colored my Franklin picture. We then did our calendar for the day. We read books and had goldfish crackers for a snack. We then had recess outside and then had lunch. My Mommy made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also had some applesauce with cranberry in it.

After lunch we had our Centers part of the class where we read books. After Centers it was time to leave. I met some new friends and I saw an old friend. His name is Luke.

I felt good about my first day of class. I got a lucky star for "free star day" today. If I get ten stars I get a prize from the prize box. The prize box has candy and toys in it.

I am looking forward to going back tomorrow to see Luke and my other new friends.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Power of Public Performance

There comes a time when most people have to stand up in front of a large group of others and speak. Sometimes it's a hastily written toast to your friends at a wedding; some other time it might be a presentation to a client or the like. It is a skill that is rife with anticipation, paranoia and at times exhilaration. I started out in theater in high school wanting to be in the "big play." There were moments that were embarrassing - leading off my first line with a terrible accent - other times were fantastic. One of my two favorite moments in theater happened when I was asked by a friend of mine to appear in a talent show when she sang a song from Phantom of the Opera. I would come out of the darkened wings dressed as the Phantom about 2/3rds of the way through her song and then at her crescendo, envelope her in a cape. I didn't want to distract the audience from her performance so this is how we wanted to play it.

The best moment came for me when I appeared in mostly black (with the correct white mask) from the dark. Because of the mask I didn't have my glasses on so I couldn't see the audience. But when I stepped onto the stage...there was a loudly audible gasp from the audience. They were surprised, shocked and thrilled. I think I might have had the white flash of absolute "in the moment" at that point. I had power over the audience and I hadn't said a word.

My second favorite experience came from a point of disaster within an improv act. We were playing a coffee house and the game was a story with five different genre books. I was gothic literature. I committed the ultimate sin in this game for when it was my turn I said:

"And then I died."

That pretty much ends the story no? My friend John Flores who was running the game looked at me with this expression of disbelief that I would submarine the whole thing like that...but then I followed with:

"but only figuratively..."

and the room roared. It was the biggest laugh of the night and the timing was great.

I use those skills in my everyday job when I talk about planning to neighborhoods, when I speak with potential developers, homeowners and business owners. It's something to have the ability to speak, to listen, and to provide enough timing that your audience is captivated and not bored with what you're saying. I miss being in the theater. I don't have the time to devote to art as much as I would like. I praise my good friends John and his wife Christie and all those who I was in theater with in both high school and college who've been able to make it their vocation as well as their avocation. I've found where my talents lie and how I can still command the stage.