One of the most rewarding things I get to witness at a teacher is when my students take their class in their own hands and run in. As I think about it, I’m lucky enough to have this happen at least twice a year with success. Acting 2 and Theatre production Seminar both are lead by the students as they create plays. But this blog post isn’t about those two classes, no, this post is about the amazingly talented One Act Competition Class who rose to the challenge this year and wrote their own play.
This was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, we didn’t have a true story to start with, no play, book or myth already written, just a short two page musing from that famous philosopher Plato. The story started with an idea… a literal light bulb. As it grew it grew into “The Allegory of the Cave.” Each student had their own reason for needing to journey out of the cave, and some were even facing the challenge of coming back to the cave and asking the question, “Now what do I do?”
The One Act class is filled with Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors with the majority of the class being Sophomores and Juniors. Think about that! 15 and 16-year-olds figuring out the meaning behind “The Allegory of the Cave” and creating a beautiful piece of art in the process.
Don’t get me wrong, the journey was a challenge, the students had many thoughts of giving up, but each time they persisted and changed the script. They had ownership of the script, story, movement and the space they created in. Yes it was frustrating, yes it was tiring and yes it was one of the hardest things they’ve done, but the amazing this is that they did it. These 26 students were able to make decisions and tell their story as they have never been allowed to before. They created lines, movements, and choreography. The energy in the room each day was amazing!
This piece asked two very different questions. The first was, what do we do when you have attained knowledge when you have learned to think for yourself, will you help or hinder society? When asked what questions we were answering, Sophomore Julia Rowe wrote, “Humans are constantly on a journey to find the truth, but many are all too quick to believe whatever is placed in front of their faces. We have created a piece written in collaboration between cast and director. The show follows what happens when one decides to question reality and the truth. By playing with physical theatre and poetry, we have been able to create a production of light and shadow, beauty and darkness, and an answer to the question, “what really happens when we leave the cave?””
The second question we needed to answer as a class is maybe more difficult to grasp. We had to ask the question, ‘What is the difference between theatre and dance?’ My answer to that is that we live in a world of dramatic change in the arts and the blurring of lines across multiple art forms. We no longer live in a world of black and white so to speak, so everything blends and becomes one. Theatre & Dance go hand in hand. In choosing this piece we first decided we wanted to explore the lines connecting and dividing Theatre & Dance. How are each defined and how does each artform play with the other? This piece explores Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” from a very physical dimension as we continue to find our definition of “Theatre.”
The One Act Class spent two months on the piece before settling on a cast list and spent the last month rewriting and perfecting. All our hard work did pay off! Please watch our Showcase performance above!
Homestead advanced to the State Competition in La Crosse on Nov 15-17, winning 5 awards. Critics Choice, Ensemble Acting, Stage Crew and two Individual Acting Awards were given to sophomore Kaet Sisney for her portrayal of Ash, and senior Mary Wilkerson for her portrayal and manipulation of the puppet character, Enki.