The first part of class, I talked about growing up in Nebraska and getting involved with music and theatre. I tried to describe my whole journey of moving to New York City to become an actor!! I also spent a lot of time talking about why I think studying acting and theatre is important and valuable even if you don't want to pursue an acting career.
The last part of the class was question and answer time. I was all prepared to answer their questions about objectives and staying in the moment and giving advice on The Biz as best I could....but it seemed their questions had to do more with my lifestyle rather than my acting technique. But I think their questions we're just as important and valid, especially for students just learning about what it might be like to have a life in the theatre! Here's a wonderful, unexpected, and funny sampling of question/answer time with the kids of Desoto Junior High:
Junior High Kids: Do you have a boyfriend?
JHK: How do you, like, date, if you're on tour?
Me: Good question...I don't know. I guess I don't date.
JHK: If you usually live in New York, when do you see your family?
Me: I don't see them very often, actually, but sometime I get to take breaks.
JHK: So if you are in a hotel, you're like always looking for a place to live?
Me: umm...sort of...
JHK: Where's all your stuff?
Me: Manhattan Mini Storage.
JHK: Do you get afraid you'll forget your lines?
JHK: Have you ever forgotten your lines?
Me: Yes,...but everyone messes up sometimes, and I go through my lines everyday.
JHK: How do you not get nervous?
Me: I don't know. I always get a little nervous. I get more nervous when someone I want to impress is watching, like the director, or if a boy I have a crush is watching.
JHK: Are you nervous now?
JHK: You seem kind of nervous.
Me: I'm not nervous....I'm really not.
JHK: Just the way you're talking you seem like you might be nervous?
Me: I'm not nervous.
JHK: Have you ever had to kiss someone?
JHK: Is it real?
JHK: Did you get, like, carried away? (giggle, giggle)
Me: Um....no, usually intimate scenes are very choreographed, like the way fight scene would be choreographed.
JHK: Have you ever had to punch someone?
Me: No....but in the show I get slapped by my mom!
JHK: What if she really slapped you?
Me: She wouldn't do that...unless maybe by accident.
JHK: But what if she did.....What would you do? Would you hit her back?
Me: No....um, I think I would just do the scene like normal....but that's never happened.
JHK: On TV, if people, like, cry...is that real tears?
Me: Sometime it's real and sometimes it's fake,...or I guess, a combination of real and fake.
JHK: How much do you get paid?
JHK: Is it a lot?
Me: What's a lot?
JHK: Like a million dollars or something..
Me: I've never gotten paid a million dollars to do anything.
JHK: How much do you get paid to say, like, one line on TV?
Me: It depends on a lot of things. Right now, I get paid by the week and I do eight shows in a week...sometimes you get paid more money and sometimes acting jobs I take don't pay very much at all,...or even nothing...so I have to be good at saving my money when I get paid a little more.
JHK: Were you ever in Rent?
JHK: Were you in Wicked?
Me: No. (I wish!)
JHK: Will you sing a song from Rent?
JHK: Will you sing a song from Phantom of the Opera?
JHK: Will you sing a song from Wicked?
Come on, what musical theatre performer doesn't jump at the chance to sing Wicked?!? I just can't help myself. So towards the end of class, I sang a couple songs. Everyone seemed to like that.
Then, the tables turned and a couple of the choir students sang for me!! They performed a brief, but excellent rendition of Sister With Voices' "Weak."
Remember that song?!? They were great, though the two girls said they had to face the corner while they sang so they wouldn't get nervous. How adorable!
What a fun and unexpectedly joyful day on tour in Dallas!!