One might ask, how does one create the best show ever? A simple question asked by the curious few, but achieved by a humble ensemble of ten teens at AIR’s April Vacation program THE BEST SHOW EVER.
Co-led by teaching artists caitlin little and Gemma Soldati, the program explored all facets of devised theatre. They built an entire stage production from scratch in just five short days at Garrison Players Art Center in Rollinsford, NH.
At the beginning of the week, the cast of creatives explored tropes in entertainment by finding inspiration in themes, characters, and environments common to stage and screen. They settled on a medieval-ish type who-dunnit that explored queer-interracial romance, class politics, and the power of collaboration, as well as the magic of music.
One the second day, the teens were visited by “special guests” Gene and Patricia (played by the teaching artists). Gene and Patricia are old school Hollywood producers that worked with the cast to create and develop the characters and the world in which the play takes place. On this day they explored voice, backstories and method acting.
As the week went on the performers explored acting and performing techniques through theatre and clowning games that allowed themselves to fully immerse into their newly created universe, Yassylvania- a magical kingdom that had lost its music and ruling Queens.
For the last two days, the ensemble created distinct costuming and black box-esque sets as they storyboarded in words, pictures, and symbols for the final production. The teens explored DIY and analog sound and light design while putting finishing touches on their production.
The final production was filmed live as restrictions from Covid-19 kept us from performing for a traditional audience. All and all it was a magical week that allowed us to experience the trust and creative freedom that comes from challenging ourselves to create outside of our comfort zones and traditional expectations.