Anne of Green Gables (the Musical)

Dear readers, hello!!  It’s been over a month since I last wrote and I have a lot to catch you up on. 🙂  For this post, however, I’d like to focus on drama — no, not drama in my life, but an actual drama class that I am in.  August 2012, I auditioned for a role in the musical, ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman.  I joined thirty-four other Jr. High and Highschool teens to put on three performances last week.  We practiced once a week for 2 hours on Monday afternoons starting back in September.

Last year, some of you may recall, I was in another musical, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.  It’s the same group, and I loved last year so much I wanted to be a part of it again this year.

I love drama so much because every performance we put on is for the purpose of glorifying God.  I also value the friendships I make and strengthen over the course of the two semesters.  And then of course, there’s the actual drama part. 😉  I love singing, so that part is easy, but the acting doesn’t come quite as naturally to me.  I’ve been able to learn so much from the director and all of the others who gave me helpful advice.  The best advice I have ever received (and finally took to heart a week or two ago) is this: “Drama is not acting—it is reacting to what is going on around you.”  ~ Mrs. Barry.

Once I stopped ‘acting’ and began to respond and react to the other actors on stage and to what they said, I found myself enjoying the entire thing.

I played the part of Mrs. Spencer.  She’s a thirty five year old woman who goes to the orphanage to bring home a little girl to join her family.  She receives word that the Cuthberts would also like to adopt (a girl).  Shocked and mortified a day after she brings back the two girls, Mrs. Spencer is told by Marilla Cuthbert that they wanted a *boy*, NOT a girl.  Flabbergasted she comes up with a brilliant plan.  Why not send the girl to live with a nearby Mrs. Blewitt?  The lady has nine children of her own and desperately needs a babysitter.

Miss Cuthbert (Marilla) sees through Mrs. Blewitt’s facade, and she decides that even her care would be better for the child than that Blewitt woman’s.   Of course, there’s a lot more of the story (the rest of Anne’s life in Avonlea), but I’ll leave that to you to read in the book by L.M. Montgomery.

My favorite memories from the last couple of weeks of drama:

1: Praying together.  Before each performance, we all gathered in the ‘green’ room to pray together.  We would thank God for all the things He had already provided us with and then we would ask for His blessing on our upcoming performance.

I also got to pray with some smaller groups of actors in the hallways and backstage.  Thank you guys for being such an encouragement to me!!  I was particularly nervous before the second performance because I was the senior to pray before that show, and there were at least four hundred and eighty audience members.  Mrs. Lynde, Marilla, Mrs. Blewitt, and maybe one or two other actors gathered in a circle and we all prayed while we waited for the opening announcements.

I believe it was the second performance (about forty minutes before the beginning) when the PC system (all of the microphones, etc.) would not even turn on.  Nothing worked.  Those of us waiting for our mics’ to be checked held hands and prayed one at a time (outloud) for the equipment to work so that we would not wear out our voices and have nothing left for the third performance the next day.  A short time later, our prayers were answered and everything worked again!  🙂

2: Getting my hair and makeup done for each dress rehearsal and performance.  Now, normally, I don’t even touch makeup.  I simply don’t.  But this year I did not want to complain about it like I did last year.  Mrs.W. did my makeup every time and she did such a great job!  🙂  I really enjoyed makeup for the first time, albeit somewhat thicker than you’d normally wear it (since we did stage makeup).

Josie Pye was my amazing hairdresser.  Every single night I got compliments on my hairstyle.  I couldn’t have asked for a better hair stylist. 🙂  Thank you so much!!

3: Dramatically acting out songs/lines back in the ‘green’ room.  I LOVED doing this, and so did most of the other cast members.  We had a speaker set up in the green room so that we could hear what was going on on-stage.  There was almost always someone walking through the room waving their arms in some fashion to match the lines, or dancing to the song, or acting out the part currently being performed.  😀  It was crazy, but it was so much fun!  I loved acting with y’all—especially off stage.  Another thing I frequently did, was react every time someone said a line about ‘me’ (Mrs. Spencer).  And believe me, there were a lot of one liners about what I said or did wrong.  :p

4: Singing parts of songs backstage that we weren’t supposed to sing.  😛  Yes, you read that correctly.  Some of us sang some songs while waiting in the entrance hallway that we were not supposed to sing.  For example, one of the songs is called ‘Queens’.  It’s the longest song of the play (I think), and there are a bunch of ‘group’ parts where everyone out on stage is singing.  For a couple of those parts, those of us waiting backstage would join in quietly.

5: All of the encouraging, hugging, and praying that we did for each other.  I was so blessed by everyone. 🙂  We all encouraged each other to do our best.  I especially remember Tommy, Jane, Mrs. Blewitt, and Marilla encouraging me at particular times right before a scene I was in.  I might have responded with a smile and thumbs up, but even if I responded sillily, know that you really did encourage me and I’m so grateful. 🙂  One thing I’ve also seen is that it helps me lose my nerves if I help others calm down, or just… help others in general.  When I just sat around waiting for my parts, I became more and more nervous.  But if I was up and doing things (i.e. running the halls looking for a ‘missing’ actor, tying Matthew’s ribbon, praying in the hallways, etc.) then I didn’t even think about being nervous.  So, if I encouraged you, or asked to help you, it doesn’t necessarily mean you looked nervous.  It simply means I was trying to calm myself down by helping you. 😛

6: Getting a focused week of time to work with Miss Becca, Miss Elle, Miss Haley, Miss Kendyl, and Mrs. Wells.  These women are people I always wish I had more time with.  They always have good suggestions for acting/singing, and they are very good friends. 🙂  I will always remember the two hours I got to spend with most of them at ihop after the final performance.  *hugs*  I hope I can come back next spring and help out with the next musical.

7: The moms.  Many of our moms came to help during the different times we practiced.  Your joyful spirits and helping hands were such a blessing to all of us.  You were a major part of our musicals, albeit mostly ‘hidden’.  This is a shout out of thanks for all of the hard work you put in to help this musical be a success.

8: Working with our pianist was so easy I almost forgot she was there.  Thank you so much, Hannah!!  For coming in with only one or two weeks of practicing the music and doing such a splendid job.  You were easy to work with, and you covered our mistakes well.  I’m so thankful your hands and feet were able to play for the three and a half hour performances.

9: The food people brought for us to snack on. 😉  Haha. 😀  Everyday someone brought cheese!!  Cheese happens to be my favorite food, so thank you everyone who brought it!  The grapes, homemade granola bars, soups, crackers, meat, energy bars, carrots, mini cookies, and apples were wonderful too. 🙂  I was never hungry and there was plenty of water as well.

10: To everyone who signed my picture book or wrote a note, thank you guys!!!  I spent a lot of time reading them over the past couple of days, and I will re-read them I’m sure. 🙂  I wish we could just keep doing drama for a longer time.  I’m going to miss you all next year when I’m off at college.  I’ll treasure your notes.  🙂

11: The door.  No memory bank would be complete without our stage door.  The haunted door as some called it.  It never quite did what we wanted, and it typically did exactly what it wanted.  It managed to entangle itself in the curtain, open when it was slammed shut, swing out when it was supposed to be closed, and close quite out of the blue when it had opened at the wrong time.  It also tripped up several actors who were trying to walk around it.  It even received multiple ad lib lines in every performance!  I’m surprised it didn’t get it’s name written on the program. 😉

12: Shopping with all of the other shoppers in the ‘Puffy Sleeves’ song and scene.  Remembering back to all of the practices we had before the final week, I inwardly cringe.  But, we redeemed ourselves!!  By the first performance we shoppers had turned the store into a: petshop, bookshop, foodshop, clothes shop, makeup shop, and shoeshop.  And then when Matthew said he wanted to buy a dress??!!  We women of course HAD to help him.  I mean, she will need a pair of gloves, a hat, shoes, a necklace, a shawl, a broach, a sash, a fancy purse with bric-a-brac, and of course, the dress itself!  It had to have puffy sleeves.  That’s a must!  😀  We really enjoyed our ‘shopper’ characters and helping Matthew out.  Hopefully Marilla wasn’t too upset at him for buying the brown puffy sleeved dress for Anne.  I’m sure when she sees this perfect dress she’ll agree with us all!

13: It’s positively providential that although Mrs. Lynde fought a headache, Gilbert continually damaged his hands, and Moody hurt/broke his ankle, no one was sick.  I’ve heard a rumor going around that the Doctor has been telling people to eat an apple a day, or something like that.  Perhaps that is it?  I, however, think it has more to do with providence than anything else.

14: Working around the stage crew.  They had a tough job, carting on and off benches, a sofa, a fireplace, stools, the door, tables, and other such large (and smaller) objects.  And they had to do it all around us (35 cast members).  With only one entrance to the stage (besides the aisles), and that a narrow hallway storing all of the props, space was limited.  Thank you for all of your hard work and patience with us!  Without you, we’d have certainly seen over half the audience walk out through the lengthy scene changes that would have ensued.

There’s one more thing I’d like to do before I leave you with a couple of pictures.  Last year I thought it’d be cool if I wrote one thank you or memory or something drama related to every single cast member.  Great idea, but I never did it.  Well, this year has rolled around and I’d like to do it this time.  I’m going to call you guys by your stage names, because a couple of us have the same name and that’d just get confusing.  If you aren’t a cast member, feel free to skim these and just go straight to the pictures below.

Anne spelled with an E – Your character in the first scene made my role as Mrs. Spencer that much easier.  I loved working with you, and I do appreciate your reminders to pray all the time (even if I didn’t always show it at the time).

Miss Marilla Cuthbert – I loved waiting behind the curtain for the ‘Avonlea’ scene.  Praying with you and Mrs. Lynde, and Mrs. Blewitt, and a few others was really special. 🙂  Thank you for your friendship and your wonderful spirit. 🙂  I will really miss being with you in dramas.

Mr. Matthew Cuthbert – Excellent job!  You were completely in character for the ‘Positively Providential’ song, at least, as far as I could tell.  I enjoyed sitting behind the stage left curtain and watching your shadow and Anne’s bouncing on the ‘buggy’. 😀  I’ll miss working with you.

Diana Barry – You sounded beautiful on all of your songs. 🙂  I didn’t get to see most of your acting, but from what I could tell from the mic, you did wonderfully.  Thanks for helping with my hair on Friday night!

Mrs. Barry – Your ‘Drunk’ scene voice always made me jump a little in the green room. 😀  Even on the nights you didn’t feel completely in character you still looked amazing. 🙂  Great job and I will really miss working with you!  Oh, and thanks for all the suggestions you made about acting in general.

Mr. Philips (school teacher)/Anne’s Father (Walter Shirley) – It was so much fun to be in a second play with you!  Your schoolteacher expressions and look (especially the spectacles) were great.  I hope I can come back next spring to watch you perform in the next one! (assuming there is one, and you’re in it)

Mrs. Lynde – Wow, what a year!  I absolutely love your costume!!  It was so beautiful!  (and the birds on the hat added so much)  Thanks for being a good friend and for talking with me in the hallways and praying with me.  🙂 It’s going to be so great to graduate with you in May!  Stay in touch!

Mrs. Blewitt – It was so fun to work with you in the ‘Positively Providential’ trio!!  🙂  I wish we had gotten to spend more time together… maybe we’ll hang out over the summer or go fountain square dancing?? 😀

Young Anne/Girl 3 – Each and every performance, I enjoyed watching you in ‘Anne’s History’.  Your motions and gestures made me forget I was watching a performance and actually believe you were caring for three sets of twins. 🙂  I will really miss acting with you next year!

Ministers Wife – I really love your beautiful blue puffy sleeved dress (and the hat). 🙂  It was fun chilling in the hall with you inbetween scenes.  I’ll miss you next year!

Minister/Stationmaster – Awesome train whistle!  I just love those… haha.  My favorite line of yours is the one about having no more orphans ‘lying about’. 😀  I’ll miss working with you in drama!  Thanks for your punctual timing in the first scene and your miming behind the stage left curtain.  🙂

Doctor – Your emotion filled voice at the death of Matthew, had everyone in tears.  Great job!!  Your in character-ness helped me stay in character. 🙂  I’ll miss acting with you next year!

Minnie May (Barry) – You were such an encouragement to me!  The coughing must’ve been tricky, but you did a great job. 🙂  I also love how you did your expressions in the school scene. I’m so glad I was able to get to know you this year!  I hope you’ll keep doing drama, though I won’t be able to be in any more because I’m graduating.  I’ll miss you!

Shop girl – ‘Toodles’ was the best line in the whole play, haha. 😀  I’m so glad I was able to work with you in ‘Puffy Sleeves’!  What a fun song. 🙂  You did a great job on your lines and the song.  I’ll miss you next year!

Mrs. Hammond – I love, love, LOVE your dress!  It was so stunning. 🙂  And your hair was beautiful, pulled up. 🙂  I will really miss being in musicals with you!  Keep in touch!  🙂

Mrs. Thomas/Professor 1 – Nice diction in ‘Anne’s History’. 🙂  You did a great job!!  I’ll miss being in drama with you next year.

Gilbert Blythe – You did such a fantastic job!  I’m sorry if I bugged you too much about your ‘wounds’.  I really enjoyed acting with you, and your in character-ness encouraged me to stay in character too!  Great job all round!!  I’ll miss being in drama with you next year.

Moody Spurgeon – Your cartwheels were really fun to watch!  (I saw it on video tape)  Your excitement was catching, haha.  I enjoyed doing drama with you this year. 🙂

Jane Andrews – I’m so glad you joined drama this year!!  Your smiles and joyful spirit were a joy to work with.

Josie Pye – Thank you for all the work you did on my hair!  I think your dress for the musical was beautiful and you said all of your lines just as I would imagine Josie would have said hers.  🙂  I will really miss you next year!

Anne’s Mother (Bertha Shirley)/Woman 7 – I love your hair up!  🙂  It makes you look much older, and I really liked that style on you. 🙂  Excellent job at the ‘Recital’ scene and ‘Anne’s History’!  Every time I watched the scene I really thought of Anne’s mother, and it made me sad that ‘you’ died when she was only a baby. 😦  :p  I’ll miss you next year!

Mrs. Pye/Woman 2 – Great job!  Shoving me out of line in the ‘Puffy Sleeves’ song, totally fit your character and I really enjoyed acting with you for the first time!!  🙂  I’ll miss you next year!

Ruby Gillis – Nice work on all of your lines!  🙂  I loved talking with you in the green room and posing for some of your pictures. 😀  Thanks for being in drama this year and being my friend!  I’ll miss you a lot next year!

Gertie Pye –  I loved watching your little dance with Girl 2 in ‘Such a Lovely Day’.  Your smile and joyful spirit are such an encouragement!!  Also, thanks for standing in the front row with me for ‘Avonlea’.  I’m so glad we were able to be in drama again this year!  I’ll miss you a lot next year!  Keep in touch!  🙂

Girl 2 – Your acting is really fun to watch!  I always get pulled in by it. 🙂  I especially love all the silly things you did in the school scene. 🙂  I loved getting to work with you for the first time this year and I’ll miss you next year!

Woman 1 – Discussing tea with you during the ‘Such a Lovely Day Scene’ was so much fun!  Thanks for being an engaging actress and a good friend. 🙂  I’ll miss you next year!

Professor 2 – Wow!  You did a superb job playing a Professor. 🙂  I like your print jacket and the way you spoke with your students.  Great job!!  I’ll miss acting with you next year.

Mary Jo – You sang beautifully in the ‘Goodnight Quartet’. 🙂  I loved listening to it from back stage!  I’ll really miss you next year!

Tommy – Thanks for being such a good encourager and always having fun and teasing me. 😀  You helped keep my spirits up all the time and I enjoyed working with you this year.  You made a great school boy, and Mrs. Spencer was quite speechless in the face of some of his cheeky responses. 😉

Woman 6 – Excellent job in Queens!  I think your hair turned out beautifully, after the first trials. 🙂  I’ll miss you next year!

Ned – Great job in your school scenes!  🙂  I hope you enjoyed your first year of drama!

Charlie – Excellent acting!!  I especially liked hearing your harmony part in the first line of Queens when you’re with the other school boys, and your expression when you walked out on the tin can stilts. 😀  I’ll miss acting with you next year!

Woman 5/Asylum Director – Hey, old and dear friend. 😉  I enjoyed singing in ‘Avonlea’ with you and hanging out back stage.  🙂

School girl – I love your curls!  I know sleeping in curlers must’ve been terrible, but they turned out really cool!  🙂

Three School Girls Reading

Three School Girls Reading

AOGG Directors

Three of Our Directors

Girls in the Picnic Scene

Girls in the Picnic Scene

Anne meeting Mrs. Barry and Diana

Anne meeting Mrs. Barry and Diana

Anne breaking the slate over Gilbert's head

Anne breaking the slate over Gilbert’s head

Jane and Anne at school

Jane and Anne at school

Anne, Matthew and Marilla

Anne, Matthew and Marilla

Dancing in the Puffy Sleeves scene

Dancing in the Puffy Sleeves scene

Anne and Diana

Anne and Diana

The school scene

The school scene

Marilla and Anne holding Matthew when he dies

Marilla and Anne holding Matthew when he dies

Matthew's Death scene

Matthew’s Death scene

Aunt Terri and I (Mrs. Spencer) after the second performance

Aunt Terri and I (Mrs. Spencer) after the second performance

The Directors :)

Another Photo of the Directors 🙂

Young Anne

Young Anne

A fun photo of the school children and Mr. Phillips

A fun photo of the school children and Mr. Phillips

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2 Comments

  1. indytony said,

    March 25, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Wow! Sounds like a wonderful experience.

    • Lysbeth said,

      April 7, 2013 at 11:23 am

      It was!! 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed it and grew through it. I’m sad that I won’t be able to be with this group again.


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