If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to spend the day at Disneyland, the happiest place in the world, it’s absolutely exquisite. But spending a day at Disneyland with my Drama Geeks? Even better.
On the day of my blog rebrand -May 1st, 2019- the Drama Geeks took over Disneyland. Our director announced the trip just before we started production of Urinetown, our spring show, and with the profits we made from ticket sales, covered the park tickets and picked the perfect day . It was a week after the show closed, just right to fight the post-show blues, and a week before the AP Exams started. I used the beautiful, warm and sunny day as a moment of relief in the middle of the most stressful time of the school year.
I spent the whole day with my best friend Chloe, the shining smiling girl next to me in the cover picture. We took a million and one pictures that day, capturing every single second of bliss we could.We went on rides, walked around the park to take in the Disney magic, and found a nice place to have lunch right before we went into the program we were there for in the first place, the Disney Performing Arts Workshop.
The workshop was like nothing else I’d ever experienced. We were taken backstage and shown things not many park guests get to see. We were led past sound stages and outdoor construction sites, not allowed to take pictures but gifted with the sheer experience of the intoxicating art that surrounded us. I was the giddiest I’d ever been, feeling so special and honored to be back there, looking at floats and seeing actors and dressing rooms. I hadn’t a care in the world that we weren’t allowed to spill any secrets or take any pictures.
After that, we waited outside singing Disney songs as our director spoke to the woman who was going to be directing the workshop, whom they’d titled a “clinician” if I remember correctly. We were introduced to each other, brought into a rehearsal/studio space, and instructed to stand or sit as the clinician’s achievements were listed.
She’d been in many theatre productions, including some performances at the Disney parks and a few pieces at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Instantly, I felt the need to impress her.
We started off with a few improv exercises to loosen us up and get us comfortable, not only with her, but with each other. We went from shy, to weird, to completely crazy. With so much left over stress from the show, the workshop seemed to be the perfect tool for us to let go and create something great.
In her conversation earlier with our director, he’s said to have told her that we needed work on our character development, and away with it she ran.
We did wild activities to help in creating characters, centered around an exercise in which we walked around the studio space and created something from whatever position our walk had ended in when she called for us to stop. Over and over again we did this, Chloe and I doing a really fun exercise together.
By the end of it, we had all grown ten times more than we thought we could in a span of two hours, becoming more comfortable with each other and ourselves. The clinician and our director had given us an amazing opportunity, with more tools collectively added to my actor’s toolbox than ever before.
Before this workshop, I was only ever okay at character development. Of course I put work in, but I never knew the right ways to do it. But now, and especially with the new scenes we’ve been handed to perform for finals, I have something to take my performances beyond what I ever thought that they could be.
After the two hours were up, we were set free until eight o’clock, when we’d have to pack up into the bus and head home. On the bus ride home, sitting behind Chloe and listening to music, I thought about how packed the day had been. Chloe and I started talking about how the workshop was by far the best part of the day. It only got me more excited for my New York theatre program, and for when we’d get to go back for the workshop again the next year.
New experiences and big challenges are both things that excite me the most. From a young age, immersing myself in things I’d never done before was a true passion and love of mine. Since the first moment that I’d set foot on a stage at eight years old, all I’ve ever wanted to be able to do is challenge myself as a performer, because that was now what I was, what I always would be.
Being gifted a whole day with my second family in the happiest place on earth and learning new ways to improve the art I love the most was one of the best ways I could’ve spent the day, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.