Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Love Luxford

Posted by Bruce Miller
I had a great morning today delivering two "Meet the Author" workshops at Luxford Elementary in Virginia Beach. I got up at 3 a.m., pulled out of Bon Air at 4 a.m., and made it through the tunnel by 5:30. Then everything came to a stop. Why is there always an accident on I 64 on one side of the tunnel or other?
Thankfully, I allowed plenty of time, and arrived at the Hardee's a few blocks from Luxford just in time for a 6:30 a.m. breakfast biscuit and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. When I checked into Luxford at 7, I was able to load in my puppets, costumes and crocodile suit before the students arrived. From 8 a.m. until 8:30, all I had to do was relax backstage.

Luxford has been a steadfast supporter of Theatre IV for decades. They have a wonderful administration, faculty and student body. I'm not sure how they train their kids to be so well behaved, but whatever they're doing, they should patent it. I couldn't have asked for a more receptive audience. It was great fun to be able to visit Luxford--just this once--with my workshop rather than a performance.

I worked with K, 1 and 2 for 45 minutes beginning at 8:30. Then I met with grades 3, 4 and 5 from 9:30 until 10:15. My last half hour was spent with a small group of E.D. kindergartners. All in all, I think the day was a success. The students at Luxford really made me excited to be back in the classroom--even if the classroom this time was a "cafetorium," and the class size was 200.

I spent the first 15 minutes of each workshop talking to the kids about my childhood, explaining how I became interested in writing, reading and theatre. Then I began a half hour interactive discussion of five or six basic principles of playwriting. Volunteers from the student body joined me on stage, got into costumes they selected from a rack, or helped me with puppet manipulation, as together we "acted out" a few simple "rules" that any young playwright would be well-advised to consider.

I can hardly believe it, but I've written 36 plays for young audiences, that have been performed in over 12,000 performances in 4 different languages before over 4 million children from Puerto Rico to Guam to Tel Aviv, and from Florida to Montana and Texas to Maine. I guess I can finally call myself a playwright without feeling presumptuous.

Part of the method to this madness of getting into the field of "Meet the Author" is this. In 6 years and 4 months I retire. I'm hoping that in-school workshops and other consultancy opportunities will be able to bring in a little revenue during my golden years.

If you know of a school that's looking for an author, and they'd consider a playwright, please send 'em my way.

Till then, hope to see you at First Baptist of Ivy Gap (Hanover Tavern), The Song of Mulan (Empire Theatre) and The Grapes of Wrath (Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn). Three plays and all of them have "of" in their titles. Hmmm.

--Bruce Miller


Jody said...

As I started reading this, I saw " got up at 3 AM, and loaded puppets..." and wondered who was writing this... Scrolled down. Yes, Bruce Miller signed... Hummm. Then, when you mentioned writing plays... many plays... I thought, "Right. Okay. It IS Bruce... Puppets or no."
Yes, you are definitely a playwright.

Natalie said...

Hi Bruce, I saw this and thought of you
I know you would definitely prefer to bring the puppets for the students, but this is an option for meet the author too, with Skype. Natalie