Fun with the Middle Schoolers

Fun with the Middle Schoolers

From Our Perspective

The 8th period bell rang sonorously, and the Advanced 8th grade Drama students frantically attempted to locate a perfect seat in the Silver Box. Suddenly, all mouths zipped as Ms. Rose, the drama instructor, talked through the audition scenario for the upcoming Middle School production, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As she finished, the students spastically skimmed through the script, hoping to get an edge on a desired role. Throughout this showcase, we sat silently in the corner, ready to “jot down notes” about each and every one of the thirty 8th graders. As we peered around the room, the more observant students slyly eyeballed us, whispering the stifled question, “Are they our student directors?”

The theatre arts department at South County Secondary School has a very special opportunity, the kind of opportunity only a select few schools get to experience. With six grade levels under one roof, high school drama students and middle school drama students get the rare chance to work together to put on large scale productions.

It was not difficult deciding to assistant direct a middle school show. In 2005-2006, South County’s inaugural year, the middle school and high school worked together in two of the three main stage shows. First, in February, the high school put on the student directed “One Acts” while the middle school worked on “The First Annual Middle School Follies.” Performing them on the same weekend, the two schools watched and supported each other and their performances. Then, in the spring, anyone in the school, grades 7-11 (no seniors attended South County last year) got the chance to audition for the musical “Oliver.” Mrs. Adams-Johnson, the high school director, and Mrs. Rose, the middle school director combined their talents and led the students in their successful combined effort.

At the audition we were very comfortable because we already knew and were comfortable with many of the students auditioning. According to 8th grader Kevin Cortina, “I feel good that I’m being directed by someone who I already know from last year.”

It is a win-win situation because the directors get a taste of real life theater and what they may want to do in college and after. The young actors get exposed to a few high school students and learn what is to be expected in the upcoming years. In the end, there is a lovely mutual relationship between the cast and the directors, and we are able to gain just as much as what we give.