Drama, Drama, Drama!

October 20, 2011

Mrs. Chesley's Drama Production class was designed three years ago to allow the fall one-act to have a support group of students who would help with all aspects of the play.  Students gain experience in learning about publicity and promotion, set and prop design and costuming.  In addition, they learn about the actor's craft and how to stage a play. 

At the beginning of the school year, students begin preparing a memorized monologue one to two minutes in length for an audition.  While students are not required to audition for the extra-curricular one-act, they are encouraged to do so to become members of the cast or crew.  During class students learn about the different types of auditions. They spend time perfecting their own audition pieces, learning how to score a script for vocal and blocking decisions and how to "flesh out" a character. For many students, the audition is their first time performing in front of their peers. 

Students get the opportunity to design audition sheets, and they generate the first publicity for the one-act by creating posters promoting auditions.  This year sophomore Lizzy Sarnes designed a three-color flyer using PhotoShop to announce auditions.  Students will also design the program and help organize two performance dates at the Middle School Auditorium, set for Friday and Saturday evenings, November 18 and 19.   They will also pursue a performance date specifically for high school students to see the play.

Different plays lend themselves to different class activities.  "Alice in Wonderland" required many props, so students spent a lot of time hand painting dishes for the tea party scene, painting chairs and tables, and working on various whimsical hand-held props, such as the White Rabbit's oversized clock.  Last year's "The Long View" gave students a chance to develop costume designs for a variety of teenage characters, while Katherine Arias created an original design for the cast and crew's t-shirt.  This year's play "Dog Sees God:  Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead" requires a set that can represent many different locations and will depend upon lighting to suggest place and time.  Students will be working on a crumbling brick wall and a small-scale piano that is the centerpiece of the play.  "Dog Sees God" also requires specific music selections that students will find and burn onto CD's.

All students in Drama classes are required to attend a performance of the one-act and write a formal critique of the show.  They are asked to observe and comment on audience reaction, the set, several actors and their characterizations, the blocking, and light/sound.