Meeting the Challenge!
Imagine yourself onstage in front of an audience of 300. Now, imagine you must act and sing in English and Spanish for 20 minutes straight! This is the challenge that 5th graders met with aplomb when they presented Canto del Roble by Roy Conboy to an audience of Primary School students and parents on March 21st.
Music and Drama Teacher, Charmaine Hamann, prepared students for the performance, Spanish Teacher, Matt Adler coached them on pronunciation, and Music and Drama Teacher, Mike Woods schooled students on lighting cue execution. The production process involved a lot more than just making sure students memorized their lines and staging. Students learned how to develop their characters, hone their understanding and pronunciation of Spanish, project their voices, enunciate, and deliver their lines with inflection so they would be heard and the subtext understood by their audience. Because students were also learning about the structures and systems needed to organize and produce a one-act play, each cast member was also a member of one of the crews: Costumes, Make-up, Front of House, Props, or Stage Management. Whew!
In an ambitious, collaborative project like this, students inevitably learn other, unplanned lessons along the way. As Charmaine says, “For the performance to be successful, students must take the risks of trusting and depending on one another. They need to know that both their ‘BFFs’ and the peers they sometimes try to avoid have their backs when it comes to having lines memorized, entering with the right props, delivering lighting cues, helping with backstage quick costume changes, and remembering where they have to travel onstage.” A case in point: when one a student fell ill the night before the performance, a new "bear cub" needed to be found. On the day of the performance another student stepped in to fill those bear feet, and the audience never knew a thing!