22 Feb 2014
From the Directors' Desk:
We were told that directing the annual school play would be an enriching experience. We were told that it would be a challenge worth seizing.
Yet we did not really know what that meant until the Student Performance Night, when the final music swelled at the end and we turned around to see our Middle School audience standing, clapping, jumping, and screaming almost as loud as the music. Their energy was electrifying. We felt touched, exhilarated, to see something we had been working on for six months be appreciated by our own students.
Doctor Faustus is a mature play. It was a challenge to take a work so deep and meaningful and make it accessible and enjoyable for all ages, from the Junior Section students to the parents of the cast members. The most enriching part was forming lively relationships with a very special team of students, and getting the chance to work with them as they eagerly explored their budding skills and confidence. All of us have so many memories.
How can we forget the hundreds of messages about “what time is practice tomorrow”, and “will these boots match the color of my costume?” How many times did we make the three friends practice throwing their swords in the air, only to be hurled nearly to the Tuck shop? We recall the patience with which Faustus and Lechery gave up their break time for weeks to learn a tango, and how the backstage students deftly handled it when Benvolio’s tail broke 30 seconds before his entrance.
Once, we tried to train a legion of demons from Hell to act evil by showing clips of Sméagol from The Lord of the Rings, but they turned out too cute to be sinister. Even covering their costumes in red paint somehow still made them look adorable.
We will remember the hard work the props students put into getting the blood dagger just right, and how Lucifer’s 22-feet wings turned into a whole-school adventure.
And then, during the show, the suspended crown fell—and the actors improvised flawlessly.
The teamwork and responsibility they showed while picking up that crown—that’s what the drama experience was for us. The students took total ownership of the process and they knew what to do. It seamlessly came together, and we sat back and watched them fly.
Their spirit of teamwork continued. After each show, while packing up and walking to their cars and driving home, the students zealously recited their own and each other’s lines. We enjoyed watching them gain confidence.
Everyone took away something from the play. The students cultivated their talents, gained confidence and made new friends. They learned so much—as much as we did, about ourselves and our students.