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OnceUponaMattress
SeniorProjectResearchPaper
By:CamiLippert

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CamiLippert
187254
EnglishAP12
MrWhite
Period2
12October2015
OnceUponaMattress
INTRODUCTION
Ihavetheprivilegethisyeartodirectthefallsemestermusical,OnceUponA
Mattress.Itisanamazingmusicalwithanamazingcast.Evenso,Ihavediscovered
thatalotcangowrongifyouarenotpreparedforit,andinmyexperience,theycanbe
prettyserious.Namely,danceandvocalinjuries,andIamthefirstdefensetostopmy
actorsfromgettinghurtandfindingtheirpotentialasactors.Throughthisclassandthe
researchthataccompaniesit,IwishtoshowtheactorswhoIworkwithwhatdramacan
doforthem.
Ihavechosentoresearchpreventativemeasurestovocalinjuriesanddance
injuriesincludingwaysthoseinjuriesarecausedandwaystohealthem,aswellasthe
psychologicaldevelopmentsthattheatercanencourageinitsstudents.Learningallof
thesethingsformyselfwillenablemetoprovidethebestcarepossibleformyactors
andtounderstandthedevelopmentstheyaregoingthroughastheygrowas
adolescents.Asthedirector,itisimportanttoprovidethegreatestsupportboth
emotionallyandphysicallyfortheactorswhowillbespendingsomuchtimeandenergy

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together.Iplantomakethisaproductiveandencouragingclassfullofsupportand
growthbothphysicallyandmentally.
THEVOICE
Aninjurythatcanpreventasingerfromperformingandactingtotheirbestability
wouldbeoneofthevocalvariety.Forthoseactorswhosepartsrequirenotalotof
dancingandmovement,butalotofsinging,orevenjustalotoftalking,suchasthe
QueeninOnceUponaMattress,aninjurytothevoicecanpreventthemfromeven
performing(Veltman).Talkingandsingingaresomeofthebiggestpointstoamusical
thatisbasedsometimesentirelyonsingingandmusic.Inaclasswithaslimited
resourcesasours,andforacharacterwithsomuchdialogueasthequeen,havingan
actorotherthantheonewechosewouldbeincrediblydifficulttopulloff.Understudies
areanintegralpartofthetheatricalprocess,buttheymakeperformancesmuchharder
toorganize.Havinganunderstudywouldcreateastressfulsituationfortheactor
chosentofilltheirrole,theactorwhowaschosentoreplacethem,andthecastwho
havesceneswiththereplacement(Tri).Thisisonlyonereasonwhypreventingvocal
injuriesissoimportant.
VOCALINJURIES
Vocalinjuriesaresurprisinglycommonwhensingingeveryday,especially
beltinginchestvoiceasoftenasyoungpeopledo,andwithoutpropertraining
(AmericanAcademyofOtolaryngologyHeadandNeckSurgery).Youngpeoplehavea
tendencytooverdoandoverestimatetheirabilities,especiallywhentheydon'tyetknow
whatthoseabilitiesare(Katz).Althoughthemostcommoninjuriesinnewand

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inexperiencedvocalistsaresoreandstrainedvocalchords,ratherthanmoreserious
damage,itscommontohearmorethanafewcrackingvoicesinsongsthatareofa
difficultrange.
Itisimportantforpeoplewhoaredevelopingthestrengthsoftheirvoiceto
understandwheretheyfallonthespectrumofsinging.Therearefourbasicrangesof
singingincludingsoprano,withthehighestrange,alto,withamediumhighrange,tenor,
withamediumlowrange,andbasswiththelowestrange(Howard).Whenanalto,or
mezzo,attemptstosingnotesofahighersopranorange,theyaremorelikelytocrack
andsoundbreathy,leavingtheiraudiencewithunpleasanttones(Brasolotto,Coelho,
Daroz,Silverio).Knowingwhereasingerfitsinwiththeirspecificvocalrangeallows
themtobetterprepareinthevocalwarmupsforthetypeofsingingtheywillbe
enduring.Forexample,warmingupthehigherrangeshelpssopranosfindclearerand
richertones,whereasaltosdonotneedtowarmupthesehigherrangesiftheyarenot
goingtobesingingintheirheadvoices(Fisher,Motel,Leydon).
Itisalsoimportantforthesesingerstoknowthattheyarenotinvincibleandthat
injuriescanoccurthethemjustaseasilyastheycanoccurtosomeonewhohasbeen
singingforalifetime(AmericanAcademyofOtolaryngologyHeadandNeckSurgery).
Evenprofessionalvocalistsandsingershavecoacheswhoareabletoregulatetheir
rangeandpreventinjury(Crisafulli).Itismyjob,then,tobethepersonwhoregulates
thesevocalrangessothatnoneofthecastisputintoanydangerofvocalstrain,
hemorrhaging,ordevelopingvocalnodules(AmericanAcademyofOtolaryngology
HeadandNeckSurgery).Amongtheseinjuriesincludestraintothevocalchordsand

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thelarynx,injuriestothetongueandsoftpalate,andtheinfamousnodesthatwehave
learnedaboutfromPitchPerfect(GuptaOConnorGupta).However,theseinjuriesare
nottobeusedasapunchline,astheycanallbedetrimentaltothevocalist'scareer
(Intagliata).
PREVENTINGINJURIES:THEVOICE
Theseinjuriescan,however,besurprisinglyeasytoprevent,whenallthingsare
putintoconsideration(NationalInstituteonDeafnessandOtherCommunication
Disorders).Beforesingingeveryday,thesingermustwarmup(Mathis).Manyvocalists
haveadmittedtonotwarmingup,andtheyhaveseentheeffectsintheirsinging.These
effectsareheardanywherefromthetoneoftheirvoice,ortheinjuriesthatarecaused
duetothestraintheyhavecausedtheirvocalchordsorpartsofthemouthandthroat
(Gish,Kunduk,McWhorter,Sims).Warmingupthethroatandthebodygetstheactors
voicesreadyfortheoftentimesstrenuoussingingactivitiesthattheywillbeexperiencing
(Mathew).Especiallyinmusicaltheater,whensingersarebothdancingandsinging,
thesewarmupsareespeciallyimportanttopreventseriousinjury.Withoutthiswarmup,
injuriescouldcomeaboutanysinger,nomatterhowexperiencedorintunewiththeir
voicetheyare(Lin)
.
Soitisimportantforyoungsingerstogetintothehabitofwarming
upbeforetheysing,nomatterhowsmallthewarmupis(Mathis).Everylittlebithelps.
THEBODY
Theactorsbodyisbyfartheirmostimportantinstrument,evenandespecially
beforetheirvoice.Itisthebodythatmovesthevoice,andtherewouldbeverylittle
showwithoutmovement.Icurrentlyamexperiencingaprobleminwhichoneofmy

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mainactorsisundergoingamajorsurgeryandisunabletouseherbodythewayshe
waspreviously,atleastwithoutcausingherseriousharm.Thisshowshowimportant
thebodyisandhowmuchonecanbeaffectedwhenthebodyisnthealthy.Assuch,it
isincrediblyimportanttoprotectthebody.Therearelotsofwaysthatanactorordancer
wouldbeabletohurttheirbodies,evenwithoutdancing(Adirim,Cheng).Beingoutin
theworldhasitsowndangers,andtherearenotmanywaysyoucanpreventinjuries
outsideoftheclassroom(Dowswell,Jarvis,Simpson,Towner).Everydaylifecauses
seriousharmtothebody,andcanoftentimesbeunpredictable,aswiththeunexpected
turnofhealthinourleadactress.
BODYINJURIES
Insidetheclassroom,itisessentialtopreventasmanyinjuriesaspossible.In
thedanceroomandonthestage,adancerisresponsiblefortheirbodyandtoprevent
injuriestotheirbodyincludingmusclestrains,sprains,tornligaments,andevenbroken
bonesandconcussions(FootandAnkleInjuriesinDancers).Mostdancersreport
injuriesintheirlives,andalmost80%ofprofessionaldancershavegottenserious
injuriesintheircareersand60%ofanothergroupofprofessionaldancershad
experiencedinjuriesinthepastsixmonthsthathadaffectedtheirdancing(Bowling).
Thatiswhyitisalsoimportanttosignyourconcussionform.Mostoftheselarger
injuriesarenotcommon,butwhenworkingwithotherpeopleandwithoutknowingthe
limitsofyourbody,assomanyteenagersdonot,smallerinjurieslikestretchinga
musclebadlyortrippingandhurtingakneeoranelbowarecommon.Evenoverusecan
causeseriousproblems(Alexander,Baxter,Brown,Butler,Crichton,Khan,Vass,Wark,

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Way).Whendancingoftenasmyactorsaregoingtohavetodo,smallerinjuries
becomemoreandmorecommon(TheOrthopedicClinicsofNorthAmerica).Even
thesesmallpainscanaffectthebodyandmindoftheactor,andcanevenaffectthe
voice(GuptaBronner,Ojofeitimi,RoseFootandAnkleInjuriesinDancers).
PREVENTINGINJURIES:THEBODY
Therearemanywaysthatwecanpreventbodyinjuries.Themostimportant
partsofensuringadancerdoesnotbecomeinjuredincludetraining,diet,andrest,
warmups,screeningphysicalinjuries,andacquaintingoneselfwiththenatureof
dancers
(Russell).Theseitemscanbenarroweddowntoconditioningthebodyand
warmingup,andtreatinganyinjuriesthatmayarisewhendancingorbeingoutamong
theworld.Itisimportanttounderstandalloftheseitems,becausewithoutoneofthem,
injuriescangowithoutbeingtreated,oraperformercanbeputatagreaterriskof
becominginjured.
Warmingup,amajorpartofconditioningthebodytoprepareitfordancing,can
stretchthemusclesinawaythathelpspreventmuscleinjuries(Church,Crist,Moode,
Wiggins).Beforedancing,itisespeciallyimportanttowarmupthemuscles.Inthis
class,wewillbelearningmanynewdances,teachingstudentswhomayneverhave
dancedbeforeorexperimentedinthewaysthattheirbodycanmoveforthem.Thisis
whywewarmuptogetintunewiththebodyandtolettheactorsseewheretheir
limitsareandstretchthemwhileensuringthattheydonotbreakthem(Luke,Micheli
Bishop).

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Thisallowsforthetrainingmentionedabovetobegin,whenweputchoreography
onthedancers.Thisiswhentheactorsareputintotheshoesofacharacterandhave
tofeelwhattheyfeel(Fischer,Wozniak)
.
Thisisahardprocessandittakesalotoftime
togetthemindintunewiththebody,soregularlytrainingthebodywiththemovements
ofthedanceallowstheactorstogetpasttakingupheadspacetoworkthemovements
andputsthemtomusclememory(Vail).Allowingmoreroominthethoughtprocess,
actorsareabletothinkmoreclearlyonacting,whichtheywillusetocreatea
convincingandcharacterdrivenshowandstorythattheaudienceisabletoconnectto.
Thisgoeshandandhandwithacquaintingoneselfwiththenatureofdancers
(Fraleigh,
Hanstein).
Otherconditioningprocessesincludedietandexercise(Russel
)
.
Itisnotenough
tojustdoworkinsidetheclassroom,butitisimportantfortheactorstocometoterms
withtheirownbodyontheirowntime.Anhourortwoaweekdoesnotgivetheactor
properunderstandingofthelimitsoftheirbody.Nutritionalsohelpsthebodycometoits
fullabilities(Croll,NeumarkSztainer,Story).Ahealthybody,onethatiswelltakencare
of,candowonders,anditreallyreflectonstagewhenanactorishappyandhealthy,
evenwhenplayingacharacterthatisunhappyandunhealthy(
Friebe,Gibney,de
Graaf,Margetts,Seppelt,Schmitt,

Zunft
).
Whenyouarelearninganewdance,thereisachancethatyouwillbedoing
movementsthatmoveyourbodyinawayyouarenotfamiliar,workingmusclesthat
youmaynothaveworkedinalongtime,orever(Bennell,Khan,Matthews,Singleton).
Thesemovementsincreasetheriskofcausinginjuriestothebody,sotakingcareofthe

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dangerbeforehandandworkingthosemusclessothattheybecomeloosebefore
movingthemisincrediblyimportant(Hodgkins,Skubic).

Thisallowsthedancersand
actorstocreatemoremovementwiththeirbodyanddiscovernewwaysofworkingwith
theirbodytocreatespecificeffectsthatcreatemoodofashow,outsideofthedances
especially.
TREATINGINJURIES
Asgreatasthisinformationis,nobodyisinvincible.Wedonthaveanysuper
heroesinourclasses,nomatterhowgoodtheiractingis.Injurieswillalwayshappen,
insidetheclassroomandout,andthefirststeptotreatinganyinjuryisidentifyingand
reportingit(
Liederbach,Richardson)
.Toomanyinjuriesgoaboutuntreatedbecause
peopleignorethem,soeventhemostminorofbumpsandbruisesshouldbehelped
(Hodgkins,Skubic).Whenyouhaveabruise,followtherulesofPRICE:protection,rest,
ice,compression,andelevation(
Bleakley,MacAuley,McDonough,O'Connor,Rocke,
Tully)
.

Thesethingswillallhelpbringdownswellingofbruisesandcanpreventthe
painfulbuildupofbloodatthesightofimpact.Whenyouhaveacutorscrape,itis
importanttocleanitorwashitoutassoonaspossibleandthencoveritupwitha
bandage(Boelens,Huizenga,Minderhoud,Saan).Then,whengettinghomefromclass,
oneshouldcleantheabrasionwithperoxideandanotherbandagetopreventinfection.
Withminorformsoftwistsandsprains,restisthebestthingyoucando.Wrapthejoint
ifitisinjuredtopreventitfrommovingandaggravatingtheinjury(Walgenbach).
THEPSYCHOLOGYOFTHEATER

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Thereismuchmoretoashowthandancesandsongsandlines.Thereisa
moodthatiscreatedwiththebodiesoftheactors,theplacementofthedancersonthe
stage,thewaythattheymovetogetherasaunitandasacellofasingularpersonora
pair(Benedetto).Thereismuchtothinkaboutwhenitcomestoputtingonashow,and
allofthatcanbecomeveryoverwhelming.Itis,then,somewhatironicwhenitisstated
thatthosestudentswhoareinvolvedinthetheatricalandperformancebasedvisualarts
performbetterinschoolthanthosewhodonot(HowtheArtsBenefitStudent
Achievement).
Theaterandtheperformingartsareagreatwaytoexpressyourselfandto
connectwithothersinagroup,creatingthesenseofcommunity(
Schaefer
,Helmreich,
Scheidegger
)
.
Thiscloserelationshipwithotherpeopleenablesthemtobettertheir
teamworkskills(
Undre,Sevdalis,Healey,Darzi,Vincent).
Sinceyouarespendingso
muchtimewithotherpeople,itisimportantthatyougetalongandhaverespectfor
otherperformers.Thisisespeciallyimportantwhenyoutakeintoaccounttheeffectthat
theperformingartscanhaveonapersonoutsideofrehearsalsandperformances.The
artshavebeenshowntoincreasethegradesandtestscores,readingcomprehension,
andcommunicationskillsofstudentswhospendatleastacoupleofhoursaweekin
performancebasedclasses(Sherry,Kassab).
HELPINGHANDS
Instudies,itisshownthattheaterhelpsstudentsachievehighergradesandtest
scorescomparedtostudentswhogowithoutperformanceandvisualartsclasses(How
theArtsBenefitStudentAchievement).Fromtestaftertestandstudyafterstudy,ithas

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beenshownthatstudentsintheartshaveahighercapacitytocomprehenddifferent
methodsoflearningandhavebettercommunicationskills(Catterall,Chapleau,
Iwanaga).Improvisationandspeakinginfrontofaudiencesandcrowdhelpswithjob
interviews(Miner,Moorman).Theaterisanoverallbeneficialwaytogetintunewith
yourselfandthepeoplearoundyou,bethatbyimprovingteamworkskillsorimprovising
therestofyourlife.
TOWRAPTHINGSUP
Everyvocalistandeverydancerknowsthatyouneedtowarmupyourbodyand
yourvoicebeforeyouperform,anditisespeciallyimportantthatthoseinmyclassknow
thissotheydontgoaroundhurtingthemselveswithoutknowingit.However,warming
upisjustonestepinanentireregimentofthingsyouneedtodotoprepareyourselffor
thestage,includingthepsychological.Thetheaterfostersthegrowthanddevelopment
ofallthosewhoparticipate,andhelpsthemunderstandbeyondthereachofthosewho
donottakeit.Theater,dancing,singing,everythingthatgoesintomusicaltheaterhas
greatopportunitytomakesomethinggreatwithanamazinggroupofpeople.
Iwilltrymybesttotaketheseteachingsintotheclassroomandmakesurethat
thestudentsthatIteachgetthebestexperiencethattheycangetwiththeshorttime
thatIwillbeteachingthem.Iwillapplymyknowledgeofpossiblevocalinjuriesand
preventthembywarmingupmysingerseverydaybeforetheysing.Iwillpreventbodily
injuriessuchasstrainedmusclesorsprainedanklesbywarmingupmydancersbodies
beforetheydanceeverydayandencouragehealthyeating,theinstanttreatmentof
injuries,andthecontinuedprotectionofonesbodyandmind.Aswell,Iwillseethe

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growththatthesewonderfulpeoplehavemadeasagroupensembleandasaperson
andknowthattheateristhecatalysttoachievegreatthings.Ihopethatthisexperience
willencouragemyactorstogoontodogreatthingsandmyaudiencestostrivefor
excellence,bethatintheatreorintheireverydaylives.

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