When we begin rehearsals for the eighth grade One Act Festival, we don’t know what themes will emerge as most salient. During the explorations of character, fits of giggles, script interpretation, loud and raucous singing, moments of joy, and moments of frustration, the eighth grade gets to experience one last “group project” while enjoying being silly and playing over-the-top characters, remembering the Shakespeare they actually know, and being together both on-stage and back-stage. Being their directors give us the chance to share in the delights of giggling as well as the satisfaction of seeing our students finding their light.
This year, the eighth grade produced three one-acts in which characters dealt with the unexpected and worked through problems with determination, humor, and grit. In Six Very Busy Days, a troupe of actors don’t find out their parts until they draw them out of hat. Those actors learn the perennial lesson in all shows that there are, indeed, no such thing as small parts. In The Misadventures of Romeo and Juliet, a director must deal with a cast made up of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Batman, as well as a crew determined to add explosives and a revolving stage to the production. Resilience is the key to this madcap production as the story of Romeo and Juliet becomes a race against an alien, vampire-werewolf. In Drop Dead, Juliet, Juliet herself takes over Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet, creating more parts for women and challenging the misogyny of Shakespeare’s time. Although Shakespeare might have been reluctant to admit it, Juliet actually is a strong character.
And just like the characters they played, the eighth graders got to learn about determination, humor, and grit. Not every cast or crew member got what they wanted in this show: Not enough songs. Too many songs. Not enough lines. Too many lines. Too much dancing. Oh, no -- that dress! I can’t wear that dress! Please don’t make me wear a mustache! And yet, in the end, it’s telling the story--and more importantly, the camaraderie built while creating the show--that matters. What fun it has been telling this story with the talented and creative Class of 2019! They collaborated to design and produce a beautiful show, from characters to props to sets to costumes to lighting to sound to choreography, and more.
Thank you to you all,
Patti Hearn, Jenny Zavatsky, and B Ervin
See all the photos on Smugmug.