Week three of school is (almost) complete and I have yet to really tell you, dear readers, what exactly is this monstrous project I am working on. Well, I will tell you because pretty much right now, the thesis is my life.
Little background here, started my masters a week after completing my bachelors--I don't know whether that makes me a masochist for going straight through with school or brilliant. Guess that answer really depends on what day you ask me. In any case, every class I have been taking has been preparing me for this final project, The Thesis.
Now, The Thesis is basically a research project that I turn into a production. Say I were to pick the topic of paper clips and I research why paper clips are great, how they work, and why we need 'em. After I write up a nice, detailed paper over all that, I must then create a production using all the information I have gathered. Sounds simple, no? Wrong-o, my friends. It is a very big challenge. There's quite a bit that goes into it.
I chose the topic of imagination. I wanted to tell people why it's important, why it is necessary to nurture in children, and how applicable it is to adults today. I really enjoyed reading about it and learning so much about the subject. I even did a little blog this summer about my findings because my mind was just FULL of information I needed to sort out.
Using all the research I gathered, I then had to create a mission statement for the production that is the overseeing vision for entire show. Whatever I did for the show had to go back to the mission statement since the mission is the reason for show. Then I created six original story driven dances that reflected what I had researched (By the by, I also had to research each of the subjects I chose for the pieces as well).
I included prop elements into the dance, turning simple objects into something more. For example, when a child plays with a ball, that ball can be anything. It can be food, a cannon ball, a giant dinosaur egg, whatever. I took that concept and built a show around turning a simple object into something more by using the imagination. Each dance had to tell the story of whatever my characters imagined. This were I got to be really creative!
I also had to get costumes, props, plan out the technical elements (lighting cues, etc.), plan an audition, execute the audition, find volunteers to help with the audition...what else? OH! Find people to audition, work through casting, handle rehearsals, plots, yadda yadda yadda.
I have quite a bit of help with this process, too. My advisor has been 100% pulling for me and that helps. I have student helpers holding major positions like Stage Manager, Director's Assistant, and Costume Mistress--these ladies will be my saving grace during the runs of the show. I have a talented and eager cast to work with. I've got friends and family pitching in to help whenever they can--I'm one very lucky girl.
It's a lot. It can be very stressful as well and though I may have been a little crazy this summer, I have felt very prepared during this process. Keep in mind, I still have five weeks to go before the show actually opens. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed and staying over prepared.
Tomorrow we have a long day of rehearsing before the first preview that the committee watches. There are check points within the choreographic process that they come in to see how the progress is going. It's very helpful as the director/choreographer to have an extra four pairs of eyes looking at my work before I put it on stage. After all, this is my very first show created, choreographed, and directed by moi. I feel giddy and nauseous all at the same time--what a wonderful feeling!