All School Drama Club Production: Anything Goes - Click here for clips from SFWHS productions.
As high school students seek to know themselves and the world, drama offers a means of traveling through the imagination to this spiritual destination. Ironically, the drama teacher uses improvisation and role-play to help the students experience an escape from their self-identity, which in turn leads to a discovery of certain deeper truths about human nature, relationships, and eventually, themselves.
Our season consists of 3 performances. In the fall, we have the 11th and 12th grade acting elective performance, which can be anything from a night of scenes, a cabaret “variety” style show, or a full length play, depending on the group. In the spring, the drama club presents a production, offering a musical every other year. This is open to all four grades. Lastly, the entire senior class presents a play in May, just before graduating. This is a very meaningful experience for both the students and the community, not only because it hearkens back to the class plays they performed yearly in the grade school, but also because it is the last project they will work on, and present, as a class.
In ninth grade, we work with Commedia dell’ Arte, a style which the students are introduced to in Comedy and Tragedy, a section of their humanities track class. This style, which uses masks, challenges the student to embody the physical and vocal characteristics of their chosen mask, while offering them a sense of safety and anonymity. This combination, of broad physical movement and improvised dialogue while being “hidden” by a mask, is ideal for the 9th grader who is still young enough to “play” but is, in many cases, grappling with a new self consciousness. In tenth grade, the students are introduced to scene work and monologues. The material is chosen by the instructor specifically for each student, depending upon the needs of the individual. The students learn the basics of how to build a character, practice stage movement and speech as well as how to watch each other’s work and offer appropriate and constructive criticism. This practicing of observation and objective criticism is very helpful for a 10th grader, whose foremost soul question is “how?” In both grades, theater games and improvisation are used to teach underlying acting principles and to build a sense of community and trust. For 11th and 12 grades, an acting elective is offered. This is an opportunity for those who love theater to continue to learn and grow as student actors, and to go more deeply in to the work. As mentioned above, the block culminates in a performance.