“Change is opportunity. Opportunity is learning. Learning is growing.
Growing is living. So LIVE!”
After nine theatre seasons and nearly 20 different live stage productions, it is time for The Madison Street Players to move in a new and more exciting direction. And yet, to move forward, we must first look to the past and the history of theatre.
In the late 1400’s of Renaissance London, playing companies, also known as troupes, were terms used to describe a set group of actors who performed together. Some, like Shakespeare’s The King’s Men acting company, performed all of their shows at one particular location… the Globe Theatre. Others, who may not have been as fortunate, would tour the countryside, from town to village, performing wherever they could.
One of the advantages of acting companies was that the roles performed were written or adapted specifically with certain performers in mind. Soon, the troupes would build a repertoire, a set of plays and roles which a company or person was prepared to perform at any given time. Other advantages to the repertoire system were the fact that a single actor could fine tune their acting craft by playing multiple characters, each with their own challenges and complexities. Also, young beginning actors were given the opportunity to learn from more experienced actors by playing opposite them on stage and, thus, developing their own talent in a secure and protected environment. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, by working closely together with the same actors play after play, a sense of unity and teamwork developed which was evident in the performances.
To this day, actors and directors alike will tell you that the best learning environment to develop your acting craft and skills is the repertory acting company. Some may remember the early days of Steppenwolf Repertory Theatre in Chicago, with members including John Malkovich, Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan), Joan Allen, Katheryn Erbe, Gary Cole (Movie Mr. Brady), Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne’s sister) and John Mahoney (Frazier’s dad) to name just a few. It was one of the last great true acting companies. Unfortunately, with today’s multi-million dollar Broadway budgets, the acting company/rep system is no longer a financial or profitable option for actor training.
BUT WE ARE NOT ON BROADWAY…YET!
It is with great excitement, anticipation and a sense of adventure that The Madison Street Players move into a new and challenging period in their existence… the age of the playing company, the troupe, the repertory. We invite you to come join us in this acting adventure!
For more information about the 2018-2019 Madison Street Players, auditions and performances,
simply flip the page. And be sure to check Mr. Whatley’s teacher webpage for updates.
FAQ’s about the 2018-2019 Madison Street Players?
Who can participate?
The Madison Street Players Troupe will be open to all 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students who are in good academic standing (no D’s, F’s, N’s or U’s on their latest report card).
How do I become a member of the Madison Street Players Troupe?
At the beginning of each semester, auditions will be held after school for those wishing to become new members of the troupe. There will be a limited number of positions available in the troupe.
Once I’m a member, can I be replaced?
YES. An invitation to join the troupe is not a “lifetime membership.” Every member of the troupe must re-audition each semester. Remember, just because you are good in August, doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be someone better in January. Once in the troupe, you will be expected to build your repertoire of scenes and characters, as well as be committed to helping your fellow troupe members with their new material as well.
What is required for the audition?
During the first weeks of school, Mr. Whatley will make available, both in class and on his teacher webpage
a group of short monologues (30-40 seconds long) for students to choose from. Students will need to select ONE (1) of the proposed monologues, memorize it and present it at their audition. Students will also be asked to submit a short information form, signed by a parent, and giving permission for the student to audition.
What will we be performing?
Unlike past years, we do not plan to be performing full lengthy scripted stories. An evening’s performance may consist of any combination of short one act plays, scenes and/or monologues. The material will be from both published drama works as well as original dramatic or comedic works submitted by actors and the director. The length and content of the show will depend entirely on the amount of material that is learned and crafted by the members of the acting troupe and deemed “performance ready.”
When will we be rehearsing?
Rehearsals will be held after school, Monday through Friday, from 2:30 – 4:30 in the Drama Room. A detailed schedule will be organized once the members of the troupe have been selected. The nature of the performance material will allow for very flexible rehearsal time, as, at no time, will we need to have everyone present for one scene or act. Because the casting of the proposed material will consist mostly of 1 to 5 actors, it is possible for members to take part in other after school activities as well as have time to attend rehearsal 2-4 times a week.
When and where are the performances?
The nature of an acting troupe demands that members be in the constant state of building their repertoire of scenes, monologues and characters. Once members have begun to develop their “book” of scenes and characters, there should be enough material to present one or more shows. The playing company troupe members of the past were ready to perform, at a moment’s notice, any number of their prepared roles and characters. So shall we. The goal is to present between two and four shows during the school year. And, unlike the past, some of those performances will be presented on weeknights rather than weekends.
More details and information will be delivered to students in the first weeks of Drama class. As always, be sure to check Mr. Whatley’s Teacher Webpage weekly for updated information. Questions should be sent to