Written by DAREarts Director of Communications, Cathy Elliott.
I sat in on Genevieve Anthony’s DAREarts Drama Day today. Over thirty ten year olds bussed in from Rexdale. It’s interesting to watch a DAREarts miracle happening in real-time. To see those little things we gloss over when we’re in the thick of things.
When you stand outside the classroom door, you hear a buzz. There’s a certain pitch to a crowd when the buzz comes from young voices. Then, when you walk into the room, you are surrounded by this buzz and the blur of energy and colour.
These kids are in the midst of creating a short play from the tableaux they worked up yesterday. Genevieve has assigned responsibilities to the kids. A couple of directors. A production manager. Actors. Set designers. A little girl’s voice and hand raised: “DAREARTS!” Pins drop.
“All actors auditioning for a speaking role please line up here.”
The buzz starts up again. Another hand goes up: “Set crew build here, please and thank you.”
The room’s energetic buzz reaches fever pitch. Suddenly I notice there’s a little house with material stretched between two dividers and three rows of seats set up. A theatre has been created.
During all of this, Genevieve is watching. Ready for anything. To assist. To guide. But most of the action is coming from the kids.
It’s a wonderful thing to watch.
They run through their play. A little rough this time. But again, you can hear the pins drop. A young director says, “I need more volume, please.”
First positions, and… “Action!”
The performer speaks louder. The pace is good. A few stumbles. A gap between scenes. A big finish as the cast and crew line up and take their bows.
Genevieve raises her hand: “Circle!” The group forms a ring and Genevieve asks the students how they felt about their performance. The buzz is now a hum. They discuss eye contact, volume, clarity, body language and how priorities make a difference.
These classes are also life lessons: What’s more important? Knowing your lines or where you’re moving? Playing a video game after school or doing your homework?
Genevieve has been directing kids through the DAREarts process for four years. And now, sadly, she’s leaving us. She’s been a brilliant guide for the teacher/actors and the students. She’s been the brains and drive behind All The Arts programs from coast to coast. We’ll miss her, but we’ll be the richer for all the gifts she’s given us.
Thank you, Genevieve Anthony, for telling all of us that what is satisfactory can and should be excellent. That failure leads to success. To watch and learn. That you teach people how to treat you. To speak up and make yourself heard.
May your strength, laughter, honesty and generous spirit guide you to wonderful things. DAREarts will always be grateful for the kind of values you taught us these past years.