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Theater Co-op Learns More than Just Acting!

Surprisingly, it has already been past the halfway mark at Artworks, and the theater/film co-­op still has plenty of work to do. Our master teaching artists, Mr. Jimmie Woody and Mr. Mike Fields, have done nothing other than teach us skills we will use for the rest of our lives. Whether it is to become an actor on either the big screen or stage, or just learn how to speak with confidence, our two MTA’s have taught us more than I could ever have thought possible. When we began our co­-op, we were immediately thrown into fun and engaging warm up exercises, that allowed us to break out of our shells and see what every apprentice had to offer. In that moment, whether we knew it or not, our co­-op became a family.

As time went on, Mr. Woody taught us more and more that went along with acting. Comedy, drama, romance, history, contemporary; it didn’t matter, Mr. Woody knew how to help us in any role we wanted to take. He began to bring up the use of monologues, so that when we audition, we have two contrasting monologues that are able to show our acting abilities. Some people did monologues from plays, other took their monologues from movies, and some even brought in their favorite piece of poetry. It was amazing to see how far we had come from the beginning. We learned that the expressions and voice projection used on stage, were not necessarily used in front of the camera. Speaking of cameras, that was also the time Mr. Mike started to ease us into the technical part of both film and theatre; specifically with the camera.

Getting a feel for both in front of the camera or stage, and behind, balanced out how we see our roles. From cameras, we were taught about lighting. This lead us to finally shoot our own commercials, which are finished and will be edited by yours truly; the apprentices. They turned out great! Never would I have thought that we could shoot an actual commercial, yet we did. Everyone took turns on set to be a different part. We were given the opportunity to become either a director, cinematographer, sound technician, slate, or actor for each different commercial. Everyone found their strong and weakest points, which was awesome. It definitely an experince none of us will

One of the last and most exciting things we have done so far with Artworks is visit Playhouse Square and see the production of “How We Got On.” Before the play had even began showing on the stage, we were given an inside sneak peek to what the play was about and where the playwriter had gotten is idea from. The play, or should I say musical, is about three teenagers who represent the three aspects of hip hop. They grow up in a small suburb in Michigan and try to figure out not only hip hop, but themselves. It’s was mindblowing. Your age as an audience member didn’t matter nor did your music taste because everyone could relate to it.  Mr. Woody even knew one of the main actresses, who was from Cleveland! In fact, Mr. Woody had her as a student. At the end of the play, we were all able to meet the actors and take pictures with them. It was riviting! They were so friendly and down ­to ­earth, you almost felt as if you had known them for a long time. I think all of us were blown away by how wonderful our time was there.

Time is flying by, I wish I could stop it. This co­op has taught me so much about not only film and theatre, but other skills I am going to use in my life time. From public speaking to problem solving, Artworks has provided me with a program anyone can learn something from. Whether you crave to specialize in the arts or not, this is something that all students should take.