After the Thai Youth Theater Festival
The van ride home was what cemented my idea that the TYT Footloose experience was a huge success.
If your high school experience was like mine and you can remember those amazing bus rides home from speech or show choir competitions where the whole bus is laughing or singing Disney/Broadway songs, picture that and you have a pretty good idea of our van’s atmosphere driving home after the theater festival. There was so much laughter all the way home, it was as if the air was infected with laughing gas. [Remember, just a few months ago these students hardly knew each other]. On top of that, the kids were already planning what play they were going to do and what songs they were going to dance to for TYT festival next year…when I am not even here! Score for the concept of Sustainability and the Peace Corps Volunteer! [The Peace Corps emphasizes implementing projects that will be sustained once the Volunteer has gone.]
On the van ride home, we stopped halfway for a group dinner together at KFC; it just felt like one big family. One of my students made the comment, “We will have to eat lunch together at least once a week to keep this up”. …*Amy’s proud sigh*. Yes that is what theater can do. You work really hard so that by the end, you have something to be proud of, something you did as a family…. and you want to experience it again.
Last week, they threw me a going away party. It was so sweet that I just about cried. Facebook has been littered with pictures and posts about how much they loved TYT/Footloose. We even sang the song they learned at the camp to two of our students at the graduation ceremony. These kids have caught my enthusiasm and have flown with it. TYT impacted these kids’ lives on a big scale. Footloose (like all of my high school plays and show choir performances) is a memory that will last a lifetime.
Indianola Shout Outs:
- All my kids know the name of our great town because I made it the name of the town in the skit.
- Remember how exhausting show choir choreography sessions were? Well, I can now tell you that they are even more exhausting when you are thinking in two languages.
- Also, remember the flip in “It’s too Darn Hot” [one of our Show Choir songs]? I made sure to use it. Thais need some spark like that in their lives. (Plus, it was one of my life’s goals since I never got to do it).
- We did do a shakedown–that was a great day!
- I can still fit into my orange capris I wore for the musical “Honk” in my freshman year of high school…yes, PCVs those were the same orange pants I was dancing in Saturday night.
- Coming home from the festival, we stopped for dinner at KFC in a big department store. Does that sound like post-play “Sports Page “[an Indianola restaurant,] anyone? Yep, we pushed all the tables at KFC together; everyone was glowing with happiness. [Note: this was followed by random bowling on the top floor with some of my students. Who thinks of going bowling?! It makes about as much sense as a group of Thais voluntarily choosing to do a show that they have never heard of before but will have to dance.]
- There were many hugs given (mostly by me) after their performance…It’s a tradition for me.
- A round of applause and big thank you to Mr. Stone (high school drama director), Mrs. Steger (high school show choir/musical director), Mrs. Hagener (high school show choir director), and Mrs. Schnieders (high school show choir/musical director). I learned it all from you. Now I know what it feels like to be in your shoes–exhausted but totally worth it.
- It doesn’t matter where you are or what language you speak. Practicing super hard to get your show the best it can be and then being able to perform it brings out something special in everyone.