Seventh Graders Take the Stage

Seventh Graders Take the Stage

Putting on a play is much more than memorizing your lines and getting on a stage, seventh grade Theater students have learned. Before putting on their Scene Showcases last week for their parents, students learned about setting mood and tone through both the technical and performative aspects of a theatrical production.

Middle School Drama Teacher Lauren Cuellar assigned groups of students a script for a short play. She tasked them with making their character their own. “I think it’s really helpful for kids to understand that it is up to interpretation,” Cuellar said. “You can have five different people look at the same words, the same script, and see it in a completely different way. I want them to realize that they can take their character or the tone of the play in whatever direction they want.”

The scenes ranged from two best friends on a space journey, to the trials and tribulations of airport travel, to a pair of secret agents with conflicting missions. Plenty of humor was mixed in with the dramatic moments.

Cuellar taught the technical aspects of a performance by helping students understand the meaning behind design. She asked them to consider how a lighting change or piece of music might shift the tone when a character is entering the stage or when a piece of action begins. After analyzing their scripts, students marked stage cues onto them, which became technical guides for their performances. “Students learned to create more enriched stories and characters through their design choices,” said Cuellar.

The students then selected their costumes and props. Some students visited the EC3 Design Center and crafted their own props; for instance, one group created a mock security scanner for their airport scene. During rehearsals, students experimented with different ways of delivering their lines, enriching the nuances of their characters. 

Upper School Theater students helped with the set-up of the stage in the Middle School Commons, and Cuellar programmed all the lighting and sound. Then they were ready for their big debut. Parents attended the performances, which took place on April 24 and 25, and watched proudly. One parent said, “The collaboration and creativity that these seventh graders showed during their theater event was amazing. They kept the audience laughing and they, too, were having such fun together. It was definitely a highlight of the year!”

Cuellar said, “The students really pushed themselves and their creativity in wonderful ways for their performances; I am extremely proud of the work that they have accomplished. It’s such a gift to have these students for three years and to see their growth as performers. Watch for the eighth grade Murder Mystery performances next week!”

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