Lower School News & Stories
No theater? No problem, according to the Lower School drama team, which had to think outside of the stage to find creative ways to teach theater arts skills to the Lower School students during this year of construction.
“The three of us [Michelle Berti, Amy Fitts, and Taifa Harris] came up with several ways the students could work on their theater skills without the need for a live audience,” Berti explains. Some ideas they decided could work were filming movies, doing radio theater, puppetry, and mask work.
Because the fourth grade was the first grade to work with the drama department this year, the trio decided doing movies would work best. “We knew this age group could do it, and since it was early in the school year we knew we could film a lot of it outside,” Harris says. Each drama teacher directed a fourth grade class, restyling a former stage play that ties into the curriculum into a movie script. For example, Class 4CW starred in “The Legends of Sleepy Hollow,” based on Washington Irving stories.
Fitts notes that the movie production allowed students to be more hands-on than they would have been if they were doing a stage play. “They got to be the crew, helping with filming, props, and costumes.”
Berti says that the students have really loved the experience. “At first they were a bit overwhelmed because it was something new. But once we got out there and started filming they were really excited and wanted to immerse themselves in it.”
The third graders are currently working on their drama projects, doing radio theater. Again, former stage plays that tie into the Hudson River curriculum have been reworked for an audio performance. Explains Fitts, “The students are learning how to perform with their voices and are doing all the sound effects.”
So while not having a theater to perform in could be viewed as an inconvenience, the Lower School drama team has turned that challenge into an opportunity to teach some different skills, and to allow students to view drama from a different angle. Play on!