Last week we finished up our 8-week Prelude Program residencies with the 3rd and 4th grade classes at Academy of World Languages with five final performances. Just two weeks prior were the final performances for the 3rd graders at Rothenburg Preparatory Academy. It’s been a busy few months!
I’ve already filled you in on the magnificent follies of mint-leaf eating miniature dragons, evil ghosts, impressionable young kings, secret agents at the FTBI (Fairytale Bureau of Investigation) and an epic board game of “Magic Connect” between two dueling parties to stake claim to a magical rock with phenomenal superpowers – all at Rothenburg Preparatory Academy.
At Academy of World Languages, I have been witness to some truly wonderful bursts of creativity and imagination as well! I think what I’ve enjoyed the most about working with the students at Academy of World Languages is the brilliant minds of the students themselves. These kids are from all different walks of life. They come from countries all over the world and are here for a million different reasons. Some were born in America and others have only been here since last week. Some speak fluent English, others speak no English whatsoever, and still others speak 3 or 4 different languages. They come from different cultures, different faiths, keep different traditions, and have very different experiences and ways of expressing themselves. And when they are all come together and work together, they combine into these beautiful, wonderful blended classes that are just so full of imagination and spark and vitality.
While I worked with all five classes, I primarily spent the past 8 weeks directing Mrs. Flannery’s class in their production of Stella’s Magical Adventure in Fairytale Land. And I have to say that, as a director, this class was a complete treat for me. They were the kind of kids every director dreams of having. Not a single student lost, misplaced, or forgot their script even once during the entire 8-week period. They were attentive, focused, and quickly latched onto concepts like projection, speaking slowly and clearly, speaking with emotion, following along in the script and being ready to go onstage, staying quiet backstage, and facing the audience during a performance. They were polite students and all were excited to be creating and rehearsing an original piece of theatre of their own. Our rehearsals were fun and productive. The students were imaginative and came up with great ideas for their story right from the start, and we were even able to work some neat concepts relating to maps and directions through our story.
Two of the story’s characters, Stella and Quinn, with the help of the Fairytale land fairy and wizard teachers, a charming prince, and a family of gingerbread men, learned a little phrase (Never Eat Slimy Worms) to help them remember the directions on a compass rose, how to use a watch and the sun to tell direction during the daytime, and how to locate and use the North Star at night to tell direction.
I was extremely proud of all the hard work my students put in over the course of the program and I’m equally as proud that they created something they were proud of, had a wonderful time on their journey, and succeeded so valiantly in their efforts and performance. I, in return truly had an amazing and gratifying experience at the Academy of World Languages as well.