Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Looking forward to PlayFest! and Scenework Suggestions?

Earlier this week, the Orlando Shakes interns were given the chance to audition for this year’s PlayFest! The Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays.  PlayFest! is an annual event here at the Shakes that promotes new plays and musicals based on classic works of art and literature, historic events and people, and profound advancements in science.  Every year, there are a number of readings and several workshops of new plays.  Workshops are fully staged with the actors having scripts in hand, and readings are much more simply staged (to focus on the text).

2010 PlayFest Workshop: Heavier Than by Steve Yockey

This year, there are eight readings and two workshops that need to be cast, and I’d be thrilled to be a part of it!  I’ve always enjoyed working with playwrights on new work—it’s terribly exciting!  While I was at school (Ohio University, go Bobcats!), the MFA playwriting program had an annual festival of readings, workshops, performances, and feedback sessions.  We’d rehearse the scripts 2 or three times before the reading, and with each rehearsal, the script had the potential to change considerably.  As an actor, it was a great opportunity to roll with the punches and let each new facet of the script really play on us in the moment.  I’d love the chance to do that again… we shall see…

This Saturday morning is our last class for the winter session, which means it’s time for the final presentations!  For each session of classes, the final presentation is a chance for the parents to see what their kids have been working on for the past seven weeks.  The kids, in turn, get to strut their stuff in front of an audience… and the teachers get to feel like proud mama birds that just watched their babies fly away from the nest!  The parents will drop off their students and, while the kids are warming up and going over finishing touches, enjoy some complimentary breakfast items.  Then, they’ll proceed to the theater to watch their kids kick some butt in their performance.  It’s a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see my little dancers/choreographers amaze their families.

The interns have also gotten their teaching assignments for the spring session of classes, which begin next Saturday (March 5).  I’m really looking forward to my class—I’ll be working on contemporary scene study with the high school group (grades 9-12).  It’s been fantastic working on dance for the past two sessions with the middle and elementary schoolers… but scene work is my passion, and I’m psyched to get to share that passion with the students.  I’ve got to start reading through a bunch of plays to look for teen-appropriate scenes to use in class.

I’ve got a few in mind, but would love some suggestions, if you’ve got ‘em!


About Kristin Shirilla

Kristin Shirilla - 10/11 Intern

Kristin is a recent graduate of Ohio University’s BFA acting program, an Orlando Shakes acting intern for the 2010-2011 season.  Don’t miss her in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Mustardseed or in Pride and Prejudice as the spoiled Lydia Bennett. Ohio University credits include THE TEMPEST (Miranda), ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (Octavia, Lepidus, and more) and LOVE’S LABOURS LOST (Moth)


One response

  1. Lee Bruno

    Hi Kristin – I’ve been following your blog during your internship at Orlando Shakes. Very well written. Anyway, for teenagers, I’ve always loved the scene in Our Town between George and Emily when she tells him he can be a better person. Maybe you’ve already thought of it, or it’s too old-fashioned for today’s teens, but it’s a wonderful scene.

    February 27, 2011 at 12:57 am

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