I started getting involved in community theater around 2014 or so. I almost missed out on my first play; the audition form said that some people would be cast without needing to be called back, so be sure to check the cast list even if you didn’t get a callback. Well, I just figured that was them trying to soothe the fractured egos of those who got rejected, so when I didn’t get called back for any of the roles, I figured, meh, they picked somebody who was a better fit. 

Well then a day or two after the cast list went up, I got a call from the stage manager who asked if I was still interested in the role. Apparently, it wasn’t just them being nice, and they really DID cast me without calling me back; that’s actually a thing that does happen.

Unfortunately, it happens the other way around, too. Back in the summer of 2018, I auditioned for a local production of Mamma Mia. I really, really wanted the part of Tanya; it’s the role played by Christine Baranski in the movie. And I got called back. But of course, when you get called back, that means other people get called back, too. And they’re the ones who are in serious running for the part.

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I went for a long run this morning. While I was stopped for a water break, someone came up to me and asked if I’d lost a house key. I told her it wasn’t mine, thanked her for the attempt, and that was it.

She didn’t seem concerned or worried about approaching me. Why would she? I am pretty much the epitome of a Nice White Lady. I’m a schoolteacher. I have long, mousy-brown hair that I often pull into a bun. I wear glasses. The only way I could personally appear to be less threatening is if I was small. (I’m just a smidge over six feet.)

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Read-Aloud Rules

Many of my students HATE reading out loud. They are often self-conscious about their pronunciation abilities. For those who are good readers, reading aloud forces them to slow down, and they can easily get impatient.

However, reading aloud makes us interact with the text in a different way. Research suggests that it can improve retention. It forces us to focus on the text, and invites us to engage with it more deeply. I find that setting a few ground rules for reading aloud makes students more willing to at least attempt this seemingly unconquerable mountain of a task.

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