Monday, March 31, 2014

The Thea-Tah!

When I heard that the Shakespeare Theatre Company, a well-renowned establishment here in DC, was holding a video contest, I was immediately excited.  The winner gets free tuition to its amazing Shakespeare camp this summer, and as Cadence has been practically begging to do more theater, I decided it was certainly worth a shot.

I presented it to the kids as a school assignment, which means that regardless of the outcome, they got a lot out of it.  We had great fun working with different bits of dialogue, but given the 15 SECOND time limit, we decided to keep it super simple...I am SO proud of the work they did here, and frankly the 15 second story they came up with to support the Bard's word is more elegant than anything I would have been able to conjure up on my own.

I operated the camera and did the actual editing work, but the rest was all them.  We discussed the meaning of the word "fierce", we discussed how stories can be told and what actions support it (or don't!) and they came up with a list of things that Calliope often does that fit the description of "fierce," and then figured out ways to stage each event in such a way as to capture the necessary moment without stress or tears.

Given that Cadence is the only one who will be old enough to qualify to attend the camp this year, we let her take the lead when it came to dialogue, but I would be remiss if I didn't give Hazel the credit she deserved...that kid just KILLED IT with a lot of the lines we played with, and we have actually been inspired by this experience to work on a longer scene where both big kids will get to have at this juicy text, so hopefully we will have that to share with you soon.  But; for now, I am PLEASED to present, our entry into the Shakespeare Theater Company's iShakespeare Camp Shakespeare Video Contest:

Chaos Ninja from Kat Stroot on Vimeo.

UPDATE: We got word just as we were leaving for our trip to NYC last week…this amazing little video is the WINNER!!!  I couldn't be more proud!!!

Monday, March 24, 2014


The last e-mail my mother sent me was a forwarded message about the impending publication of the book which included her essay. The last e-mail I sent to her was my response, a simple "Yaaaaaaay!!"  Had I thought about the finality of that message?  Did I know it would be the last?

There could be far worse conclusions.  It didn't end with an unanswered question, there were no harsh feelings; she was sharing something she was so incredibly proud of, and I shared my joy about it with her.  

I have found it hard to do much of late.  I can feel that, if I didn't have my own kids, this loss would be so much harsher, because to me, there is no option that involves letting my children down.  My need to encourage them and help them realize their own potential forces me to step out the door when I would rather hide; my desire to see them thrive pushes me to take care of myself in order to care for them.  I am pretty successful at the day to day, they are fed, they are clean, they seem happy, and we have even been pretty successful in our homeschooling efforts and have been making new friends.

But beyond that, it is admittedly pretty hard.  I haven't been able to write, even my attempts at documenting the amazing work these kids have been doing, or their progress in general, have proved way too daunting to tackle.

Instead I find myself hiding in social media, and searching through old posts to find tidbits from my mother. I hope to soon be able to pick up and carry on, and in her honor create something wonderful, but for now I must be kind to myself.

And so…

My mother's last Facebook post was "My nurses's name is Angel today and she is!!" 

Love you, Mama.