Upstairs at the Jessye Norman School of the arts, several students, most sitting on the floor, listening and interacting with their Drama teacher Mrs. Carmen, are excited about putting on another play.
After homeroom, they go to the class they chose for the semester. Students submit their top 3 choices for their classes and are assigned accordingly, this ensures the classes are balanced.
When I entered the room, the students, with Mrs. Carmen, were reflecting on the play they performed last semester. Each student is an integral part of the group, and like most drama groups, there’s lots of potential for animated and funny conversation.
That’s not to say that these students don’t take their job here seriously. They want to put on the best show they can.
Reading through lines is not always the most exciting part of learning a play, but it is absolutely necessary, and the students use feedback and constructive criticism as a benefit to improve their performances. They repeated lines with inflection while listening to Mrs. Carmen give examples and explanations on why lines need to come across a certain way. Students felt free to chime in, adding their opinion and some asked questions obviously wanted to learn more and get this right.
They also worked with the orchestra score which is provided with the play’s package. Some of the students wanted to have a live orchestra for the play, but through the discussion realized the recordings will have to do.
During the 1 1/2 hour class everyone was engaged and participating, all after a full day of traditional school. These students are dedicated, and it is wonderful to see. Ending a learning day with the arts, and specifically drama in this case, has to be very fulfilling.
The whole experience reminded me of being in Drama class in high school, one of the best classes I took. It brought back memories of my Drama Teacher. Mr. Roy Lewis, demonstrating, explaining and encouraging us to get it together! We had our drama class at the end of the day, and it too was never dull or draining.
Toward the end of class, the dance teacher came in to speak with Mrs. Carmen. We then packed up a little early and went to watch the dance class perform. The students had been back a week and were working on a dance routine.
Amazing things are happening every day at Jessye Norman School of the Arts!
*Side Note: This was the same day as the no photos of photography post, so I don’t have pictures of drama and dance either. Will have to get permission to take pictures for future posts.