Wy'east kids take to the stage


News intern

ODELL — The stage floor at Wy’east Middle School has been busy with seventh and eighth grade drama students actively working on their upcoming production of “The Haunting of Hathaway House” and “Charley’s Aunt,” showing at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

“Both classes have taken lots of responsibility putting together the costumes, the lights, the sounds, the sets, and learning their lines,” said drama teacher Tim Danforth.

From the set construction to all public relations, the students have learned much during class, as well as after school.

“Just the fact that I get to make something, and then show it to everyone is cool,” said seventh grader Jon Wadman.

Many students have found new experiences through the class, which taught them the basics of putting a production together. Both classes have gone over the process of set construction, how and what to select for sound and lighting effects, coaching on fundamental characterization, stage directing and blocking, and how to apply facial hair and stage make-up.

“It’s a lot more fun than sitting around and watching TV,” eighth grader Ana Frasier said.

These classes have been a chance to act for students like eighth grader Jon Strickland, who has always wanted to be in drama.

“I’m really pleased. These kids have put in lots of heart to make this a better production,” said Danforth. “This is new for most of them, and most have never been on stage.”

“At first, I didn’t think I’d like it. We had to stand up in front of the class,” Frasier said. “Now that we aren’t doing that anymore, it has been a lot of fun.”

Some students have walked away with more than just theatre knowledge.

“At first I didn’t know anyone. And now we are all friends,” said seventh grader Kai Severinsen. “It killed my stage fright, knowing everyone.”

Others are still a little bit anxious with anticipation of the performance.

“I’m nervous,” eighth grader Daniel Molina admitted, staring off stage. “I can picture myself standing on stage with all these people watching. But I can’t wait to see what it will be like to perform.”

Plenty of kids have the chance; the performances feature different casts both nights. (See Neighbors, page B7 this edition, for the full list.) Admission is by donation.

“I’m proud to be part of a school system that still has the choices and resources of the arts, music, shop, and life skills,” Danforth said.

Lights. Curtain. Action. These kids are ready for the world.

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