Theater in the classroom...or sea creatures fighting over a shipwreck! 🐬 (January 2019 Newsletter)

Check out my January 2019 Newsletter here. And if you’d like to sign up to receive my e-newsletter, click here.

As soon as your baby giggles at the funny voice you make while reading to her Dr. Seuss, she is being exposed to theater. When your early reader wants to read parts with you in Piggy and Gerald, he is reading dramatically. When your older child is tearing through graphic novels, she is immersing herself in a dramatic world.

Dramatizing stories is inherently fun and natural, and can be beneficial in understanding other subjects (from history to a second language), and it can also improve the skill of reading itself.

Reader’s Theater is a play script that students read aloud together without the goal of a production, but with the purpose of improving reading skills while making it enjoyable. This process can promote fluency, confidence, creativity, empathy, oral expression and connections among peers.

I love writing theater for children and I love hearing about how you fantastic teachers and students use theater in the classroom. So I'm excited to add a new genre of 
Reader's Theater to my repetoire. Stay tuned as I will keep adding scripts for early readers up through teens. The scripts can still be used for competitions and performances, but will have a special place as Reader's Theater within the classroom.

Check out my new 
Reader's Theater play--and while we're on the subject of theater and children, you can browse a short monologue written by a 6-year-old child! 

Happy Creating!

Warmly,
Tara

December 2018 Newsletter

Check out my December newsletter.

Amazon boxes on the porch, peppermint star cookies in my stomach, Elf playing on tv while I clean up from the Holiday Murder Mystery party I threw over the weekend--this is a slice of the middle of December for me. You?

However you celebrate the holidays, it's always fun to pack in a bit of theater (I loved the one-man show of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, told in an historic Dutch church from the 1600s!). So check out some of my festive pieces below--a new monologue, a "how to" on writing your own cheesy Christmas rom-com, and more.

Enjoy the season and Happy Creating!

Warmly,
Tara

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Nostalia and the Season: My Top Three Christmas Movies You Might Not Have Heard Of

Nostalgia rings loud and clear this time of year—scents, songs, books, movies. My mother passed away two years ago, and my childhood (and adulthood) memories with her practically explode this time of year. Our main December holiday in my family is Christmas, and my mother made this holiday so special for us. From parties to games to crafts, cookies, books, music, cards, service, prayers and more! All those singing stuffed animals in our hallway? Gifts to my kids from my mom. The burlap Advent Calendar hanging on our wall? My mom made it. The ornaments on our tree with permanent marker dates on the bottom? My mom dated of all of those. While nostalia comes in many forms, one thing that harkens me back to the magic of childhood Christmas is simply: Christmas movies. Those classic tales of…

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New Comedic Children's monologue: Written by 8-year-old guest playwright

Let me tell you about a talented little boy. He's a member of the Chess Club and Computer Club at his school, participates in Engineering and Swim classes, researches the mysteries of outer space, loves to ride his bike, do gross food dares during school Lunch, read like a fiend, go on hikes, and has a blast writing and illustrating his own comic book series called "Tommy Tom Tom, Mike and Joe."...

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December Newsletter

Has anyone else watched a "Hallmark Holiday" movie this season yet? Okay, they're cheesy and predictable, but there's kind of nothing like wrapping presents at midnight, while watching a feel-good Christmas movie where a jaded journalist travels to a snowy land and either meets Santa--or a prince! Snacking on chocolate-covered peppermint "jo-jos" helps too.

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Motherhood in Theatre Forums 2017: Breaking the Silence

If you're a parent in theatre, and have encountered some challenges or figured out some solutions to this ever-present balancing act of art and children, check out this important new advocacy group touching on this not-talked-about-enough subject...

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Compassion, Empathy and Kindness: In Theatre and Beyond

Compassion and empathy are essential in theatre--from its inception at the written word to the performers, directors and production team. I love that it can be a tool used to dig into our humanity to pull out the recognition of ourselves in someone else--someone whom perhaps we never saw a connection to before. I'm not the only one who is attracted to the workings of a villain, of a hero with a fatal flaw, the person who does exactly what they should not do, but yet, we discover there is humanity beneath it all. Can this villain be redeemed? Can this villain show remorse? Could we say we would act differently if we were in that situation? If we were not only in that situation, but if we were that person?...

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Mothers In and Out of Theatre

If you're a woman in the arts (and we'll talk about theatre here), you are going to face many similar issues women in any field face, but it typically is compounded by an intimate environment, late or odd hours, no simple "Human Resources" department to turn to, and lines that blur far more easily than most fields...

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Does Your Siri Make You Smile: The Nuts and Bolts of AI Comedy

I wrote for a robot one summer during graduate school, one of about six part-time jobs I took between school years (along with university "telefunder," lab rat, health/fitness teacher to girls in the inner city, and data entrant). It was a fantastic experience to bring personality to a rudimentary AI creation and work with a team of writers and robotic engineers. Our robo-ceptionist had high hopes of becoming a lounge singer, had to navigate the world of dating a Chevy Impala, and still encountered arguments with her overbearing Motherboard--all the while having the map of the building on hand to assist visitors finding their way around the facility....

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Hiplet Making Headway: A New Dance Form Resonates with Millions

Don't you love it when art changes, morphs, and grows along with the culture, its people, those who speak out, speak up, or speak differently? Many do, but it is often a struggle for artists in any field to stand up and create differently initially.  This is ironic in a field based on creative expression, but critics, audiences, and artists alike sometimes have a hard time accepting new forms of something they have grown accustomed to (isn't this life for many, in general?).  There are many reasons for this, stemming more deeply than simply, "we fear change"--and how change comes about is not insignificant either--but I'm not going into that here. Having said that, judging by the millions of people viewing one new dance form (thanks, Social Media!), the masses may be ready to embrace this new artistic expression....

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Oh, the Drama of Halloween...

A lot of holidays carry with them an intrinsic dramatic flair, but Halloween is particularly begging for theatrical opportunities. Besides the fact that, hey, we're dressing up in literal costumes, wearing stage make-up, pretending to be someone else, getting to try out accents, mannerisms, have license to do some pretty dramatic things--dramatists go to some serious lengths to bring theatre to Halloween. Or Halloween to theatre....

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Calvin and Hobbes: Perfect Summer Reading

I was visiting my parents' house this summer which is always bound to stir up childhood memories, but I got a special burst of elated nostalgia when my 7-year-old son came to me with a comic book of mine he found at their house entitled, Revenge of the Babysat. Now, anyone who really knows the comic I'm going to talk about will immediately know who I'm talking about, and hopefully, it will bring about a huge smile for them too. I'm talking about the namesakes of that famous theologian who gave us Reformed Protestantism (touting Predestination), and the political philosopher who gave us social contract theory--yes, I'm talking about none other than Calvin and Hobbes.

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Carnegie Mellon University and The Tony Awards

This year's Tony Awards brought out a lot of pride for CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) alumni and students, when two alumni each received one of theatre's most prestigious recognitions. Leslie Odom, Jr. won his first Tony for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical (he plays Aaron Burr in the huge huge huge hit, "Hamilton.")....

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3 Year Old Reads "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type" by Doreen Cronin

Okay, so he's not actually reading here, but at three years old, this is as close as this little guy gets to it.  One thing I love about this is how you can hear his dramatic interpretation of the events (and even a slight southern accent for the farmer)...

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Performer Stuff: A Great Resource for Actors and Singers

Just as the title of the site indicates, Performer Stuff is about, well, stuff for performers. The website includes tens of thousands of songs for musical theatre actors to audition with, and a huge (and growing) number of monologues perfect for any audition (you can find my monologues there too--lots more that aren't even on my own website yet, in fact)...

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Shrews Taming Shrews: All female cast of this classic for The Public's "Shakespeare in the Park"

Okay, using the word "shrew" makes my 21st Century self cringe for some reason.  Other than the mouse-like mammal, a shrew is defined as "a bad-tempered or aggressively assertive woman" which is certainly not most women, and certainly not just women who don't want to get married. But Shakespeare used it, and so do I.  Is Katherina a shrew? Is female-Petruchio a shrew? Well, now you can judge for yourself in a month or so...

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Murder Mystery Party - My night at Farthingay Manor...

So I was one of those kids. One of those kids who made a “carnival” with my brothers in our yard for the neighborhood to participate in (we’re talking carnival games, scheduled shows of magic, puppetry and science, and winning prizes from Oriental Trading and guppies from my parents’ fish tank)....

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Share your Magical Leap Day Adventures: February Newsletter

Happy Leap Day! What magical adventure have you had today on this bonus day of the year? Ladies, have you asked someone to marry you on Feb 29 (you'll have a long marriage!)? Have you seen Leap Day Williams hovering around the waters (30-Rock style)? Have you buried a coin near a rainbow's end waiting for its pay-off on St. Patrick's Day? Have you...checked out a new play written by Tara Meddaugh?...

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Lee Harper will never see Aaron Sorkin's stage adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird

How many of us were blown away by Lee Harper's To Kill A Mockingbird in our very young school lives? Oh my gosh--I loved that book. I even just loved saying the words "Boo Radley." It has probably been a few decades since I read it, and after recently hearing Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing) is writing a stage adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird, I put a good re-read of this classic on my "to do" list...

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