The 10th grade rehearses and performs a play on a classical theme. Recent choices have been Mary Zimmerman’s The Odyssey and an adaptation of Euripides’ Iphigenia. The class designs their production in a combination of modern and ancient styles to convey the universality of the themes. Each student has one or more speaking roles and also participates on one of the production crews. The class culminates in two evening performances for a public audience.
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The class studies the dramatic form of the monologue, beginning with Shakespeare, moving to excerpts from modern plays, and ending with their own compositions. The students examine how language reveals character through the use of literary and theatrical devices. They also explore the acting techniques of the Russian director, Constantin Stanislavski, and his student, Michael Chekhov, as a way of further revealing character onstage. The class culminates in a performance of one of their monologues for an invited audience.
The 12th graders are active participants in choosing their play – their final gift to the school community. Recent choices have been Macbeth, Camino Real, and a musical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. The seniors all have speaking roles and also sign up for production crew; they collaborate on designing the set and costumes. They rehearse extensively, blocking the play, memorizing their lines, working on character development and, if applicable, music and choreography. The students have the assistance of a scene coach, set, lighting and costume designers, a musical director, a choreographer, musicians, and a hair and make-up stylist in a production that culminates in three or four public performances.
This is an introductory class in the art of acting, introducing the ninth graders to basic speech exercises, physical warm-ups, and theatre games inspired by the work of Viola Spolin. In addition, the students enact scenes from the plays they read in their History of Theatre class, memorize their lines, and block the scene with their scene partners. The class culminates in a presentation of the scenes to an invited audience.