You Got Splurged!
When we chose Bugsy Malone as our show, I knew we wanted to use it to not only showcase our talented students, but also to send a positive message to our community. I strongly believe in theatre as a force of social activism & want our kiddos to experience theatre as a powerful agent of change and communication. Typically, Bugsy productions feature a "splurge gun" that shoots whipped cream or silly string on its unfortunate victims. Having a strong desire to avoid any use of guns on our stage, we began to think about how we could use this "splurging" trope in a new way.
In Give a Little Love, the kids sing, "You're gonna be remembered for the things that you say and you do." As a parent, I worry continually about social media and "reality" t.v. and it's impact on my daughter and her friends. I fear that these things are encouraging an obsession within our communities, particularly our youth, to be famous or "remembered" for almost any reason, good or bad. In light of this, I wondered, "What if in our production, the splurger is a camera instead of a gun and it shoots pictures instead of bullets, and those pictures end up on the front page of a tabloid-esque newspaper, with horribly unflattering headlines?" I wanted the kids to begin to question the desire to be famous for the sake of being famous, or being remembered for any reason; and also, for them to understand that they can't trust everything they see on T.V. or on a newsstand.
To emphasize this point, in one of our earliest rehearsals, we had the kids take turns "freezing" in the middle of everyday actions (cutting hair, shaking hands, baking a cake, counting money, etc.). Once a small group of kids was frozen in a particular stage-picture, we had the other kids "splurge" them, by yelling out good headlines and bad headlines that described the poses the kids were frozen in onstage. The kids quickly figured out that the same stage-picture could be remembered positively or negatively depending on the headline assigned to it. I wanted the kids to see that words are powerful. Words can mislead us and can influence our feelings about ourselves and others. I also wanted them to understand, that we can't always control what others say about us. Likewise, just because something negative was said about us (true or not), we don't have to let that define us. We are the authors of our own headlines. We can decide what we would like to be remembered for and it's never too late to change our stories.
It has been my absolute delight to work with these wonderful kids on our 2014-15 LHETAG production of Bugsy Malone, Jr. Their sweet smiles and limitless joy make 8AM not so tough! This production depends on so many people giving tirelessly of themselves for the good of the whole. Our TAG Team and volunteers have outdone themselves and I thank each of them sincerely and deeply. When my husband, daughter, and I moved here from San Diego, in the summer of 2013 (less than two years ago!), I had no idea that this opportunity would be placed before me. A special thanks to David and Bret Ashlee for introducing and welcoming me into this crazy, creative world! It has been such a blessing to meet and contribute to the LHE community in this way. My family and I have made such great friends because of "the play" and feel so, so lucky to be here. I hope you enjoy our production of Bugsy Malone, Jr, and will continue to Give a Little Love even after the curtain closes.
Dr. Summer Moshy, Director