As part of our Middle School curriculum, each year the students participate in a week-long theatre workshop culminating in a performance on Friday night for family and friends. The performance builds confidence and teaches valuable practical life skills such as public speaking. Participation is required for all Middle School students, which is unique to our program as in most Middle Schools, theatre is an after school activity or a choice.
As we know in Montessori, ‘process’ is often as important as ‘product’ in learning experiences. Following is a day-by-day snapshot of the work the students put into making the performance. They had incredible growth as they learned their roles, remembered the staging, and practiced how to vocalize their words on stage – from memorization, no less!
Students began the week with a table read, before moving to the Crescendo stage for blocking. Enthusiasm was high for this hilarious version of It’s All Greek to Me. They discussed the outline of the week and daily goals.
Continuing the week the students memorized 47 pages of dialogue – no easy task, but an essential skill that will serve the students well throughout their academic and career journeys. Once comfortable with their lines, they refined tone, pacing, volume and clear enunciation. All necessary for successful public speaking.
The students worked really hard. The act of getting up on stage and performing in front of an audience can be nerve-wracking – especially for early adolescents, who often experience increased self-consciousness. For this reason, the teachers place a huge emphasis on creating a safe, respectful, and encouraging community that supports the students in being vulnerable and taking healthy risks. That also included built-in “downtime” during theatre week to take some of the pressure out of the rehearsal process. When the students are focused on the value of the process, and they can have fun along the way, they’re creating lifelong memories of their time in Middle School!
By Thursday, the backdrop is hung, the props are placed, and the actors are busy making last minute tweaks to their characters. The young stars took time in between scenes to help with setting up the chairs to keep our audience comfortable.
Day 5: The Performance!
Synopsis – Gods and mortals alike are shocked when the scheming Hades kidnaps Persephone from Mt. Olympus and holds her hostage in the Underworld. A pack of vain reporters clamors outside the gates of Zeus’s palace to get the scoop, while the Goddess of the Harvest crankily destroys all of the crops in an attempt to win Persephone back. In the midst of it all, two unlikely heroes arise in the form of a young lute player named Orpheus and his bride, Eurydice, who brave Hades’ bizarre kingdom in this clever send-up of Greek mythology.
The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.