February 19, 2012

Romeo and Juliet

Hey everybody!

The 8th graders at my school all performed plays at the beginning of the month. Three of the groups did Shakespeare plays, and the group I was a member of performed Romeo and Juliet, a classic.

As an ending to the unit, we all wrote essays on our experiences. This is mine:

Juliet’s eyes fluttered open. Her heart raced and pounded. Blurred colors and warped shapes swirled across her vision. She felt something rough on her face, but could tell nothing more. Darkness stretched across her view, her eyes squinting as she recognized the thatched texture of cloth upon them. She took a shaky breath. Her hands found the craggy edges of the crypt as she pulled her trembling body upwards. The coarse, white veil fell from her face, gliding down the curves of her nose and mouth to rest in her lap. Her vision focused like a camera lens readying for a snapshot. Her eyes searched, yearning for something familiar. As her gaze found his body, her beautiful features turned ugly. She fell unceremoniously to the ground, her hands clutching at his tranquil face. The wail of a hundred banshees sprang from her lips and turned her heart to ice.

The telltale story of the famous star-crossed lovers was yet again brought to life. This time by a group of U-32’s middle schoolers. We worked for weeks on end becoming the famous characters of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It took hours of line repetition and uncountable cross-examinations of our scripts, but we finally had a Juliet who was emotional, an honorable Romeo, a furious Tybalt, and a wise Sister Lawrence.

Finally the day of the play was upon us. We had a dress rehearsal in the morning, a run-through in the afternoon, and an evening performance. I forgot to breathe that day, the suspense was so great. During the run-through and in-school performance, a few of our leads balked and skipped whole paragraphs of their lines. Needless to say, I was stressed out.

Everyone, it seemed, arrived earlier than we were supposed to that night. Maybe it was coincidence, but I am willing to bet that it was the combination of anticipation, excitement, and nerves. The Language Arts room had transformed into a bustling world of sizzling curling irons, mascara, clouds of blush, last minute line cramming, and french braids. The air crackled with excitement. It was time.

Those couple weeks of my life will never be forgotten. The fun. The laughs. Even the stress. The play unit made me want to get up in the morning. I looked forward to becoming someone else alongside my peers. I had acted before, and I have been in numerous musicals, but this play was the first where I had a major role. And I loved it. Being Juliet’s jolly Nurse was so much fun, namely because her character was so much like me. Full of happiness and bursting with love. She was the joy in Juliet’s life. Johnny Depp said ”With any part you play, there is a certain amount of yourself in it. There has to be, otherwise it's just not acting. It's lying.” You have to be someone else, but you have to be yourself too. Not everyone that plays Juliet does it the same way. They all add a little bit of their own personality to the character in order to make it their own, and I think that the people of Apex 8 did a great job doing just that.

Not only have I learned a magnitude of tips and helpful information about acting this year, but this unit has taught me how humans interact. It has taught me that if you want to get to know a person, you have to do a theater production with them. The people I thought I knew are made of so much more. They are so much more complex than I ever imagined. My classmates’ personalities are layered with so many different ribbons, in my mind’s eye, they are all detailed tapestries, some of them neat and intricate and others made of seemingly random patterns of yarn.

This memory is (as stated before) one of the best I have from middle school. This insightful experience is one that will forever impact how I portray other characters. All the acting tips and helpful pieces of information my teachers drilled into my skull will show in every theatrical endeavour I pursue in the future. Every rehearsal, I did things a little differently, making the character my own. And while I was adapting my character, I paid attention and learned. Move this way to catch the light. Make this expression during this scene. And every little improvement in my character made my talent in acting grow.

And this is the video of our performance:

February 11, 2012

Legend By Marie Lu


Three heroes from two different worlds. The murder of one lies blame on another. His sister seeks revenge. The slum hero fights for his family. Their stories are one.

15-year-old June is the Republic's prodigy. But she has a weakness.

Her parents died when she was very little. The only person she can trust is her older brother, Mathias. But when he is murdered, her lifeline snaps. She puts all her remaining energy in hunting down his killer.

And 15-year-old Day is the prime suspect. He is the Most Wanted criminal of the Republic and the hero to the poor.

As June hunts him down, she comes closer to the truth than even she bargained for.

The enemy is never who it is believed to be. The enemy is always in your inner circle.

June and Day, so different, yet practically the same, must set the truth free. It is their job to find the answers.

It is their job to save the world.

February 5, 2012

Catching Fire By Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire

First of all, if any of you are confused by some of these names or places, I suggest reading the previous book review on The Hunger Games first.

Katniss and Peeta are back in the arena. But this time it's worse. Much worse.

At the end of the 74th Hunger Games, instead of killing Peeta, Katniss split up her supply of poison berries, giving half to Peeta and half to herself. She hoped that the Gamemakers would declare them both victors before they both died. She succeeded.

Now many in the Capitol saw Katniss' action as an act of undying love. Unfortunately, President Snow and the people of the districts saw it as an act of defiance. Against the Capitol.

Since Katniss and Peeta became instant celebrities by winning the Games, the people of the Capitol love them. So President Snow can't publicly kill them.

Every 25 years, there is a Quarter Quell, signaling a quarter of a century more of the Games' existence. For the Quarter Quell, the Capitol puts a twist on the Games, supposedly determined at the Games' initiation.
Quarter Quells include:
25th Hunger Games-The Tributes being voted for by the people of their district.
50th Hunger Games-Sending twice as many Tributes into the arena totaling in 48 Tributes.

This year's Hunger Games are yet another Quarter Quell. And the gruesome twist this year is:

The Tributes will be taken out of the existing pool of victors. This action will supposedly sever any bonds the victors have made with each other over time, thus reminding the people that the Capitol is ever ruling, but Katniss and Peeta know that the President just wants them dead.

Katniss and Peeta are back in the arena. And this time it's worse. Much worse.