BBMS Drama Club prepares to present original work
There are a million stories to be told and members of Blind Brook Middle School Drama Club are ready to tell theirs.
In an extravaganza of original work, students have written their scripts, perfected their roles, scoured closets for costumes and props and are prepared to present their work, “From the Page to the Stage” to the community.
During a recent rehearsal some students were painting set pieces for their play, others were creating posters to hang with details about the event, while still others were on the stage rehearsing their performances.
Allie Dakers, BBMS/HS Drama Club Director, said she’s been leading this project for the past 18 years.
“The MS Drama Club Program is all about the process—we are a living "work in progress," and our club motto is "Commit, Focus, Respect," she said.
This show is a months-long project that begins with a “Pitch Meeting” for drama club members. In the meeting students share their ideas for scenes they want to perform and receive feedback. Sometimes, Ms. Dakers said, the ideas are just nuggets that develop as students work more on them. From there students engage in playwriting workshops before the “Table Read Day.”
During the reading students will discover if their idea is something that can be turned into a performance.
“It's a lesson in compassionate non-attachment and working with an open mind and heart as we mindfully learn how to give and receive constructive criticism in tandem with supporting the overall goal of the group, creating a show they love,” Ms. Dakers said.
In the weeks leading up to the show, club members learn more about stagecraft and begin to work with a crew as high school mentors assist them. They are also helped by district videographer Zach Dore, who also serves as the technical director for different shows.
“He takes the time to make sure we have what we need for all things tech and design and works with the students with patience and compassion to teach them the skills they will need to be successful. It's been a privilege and an honor to work with him for a number of years now,” Ms. Dakers said.
In addition to their performance, students are often learning more than one thing. As they flesh out the concepts for their pieces, they may assist fellow club members with their production too.
“It's a pretty wild adventure and the kids definitely level up,” Ms. Dakers noted.
Students are allowed to select their groups and they are encouraged to work collaboratively to do whatever needs to be done.
“I think a lot of people just did things they liked,” seventh grader Amaira Agrawal said, adding that students created different characters or were inspired by a Broadway show.
“It gives a chance to be innovative and creative,” classmate Emma Ashley said about the project.
Amaira, Emma and their friend Manuela DeMoraes Lucca are performing their piece “Stuck in the Big Apple.”
Sixth grader Will Hirsh said he volunteered to oversee the soundtracks the actors need. This, he said, can range from finding the right music or looking for specific a sound effect.
Seventh grader Audrey Sweeney will appear in “A Revolutionary Mistake.”
“It’s about kids who run away from home and go back to the 1700s,” Audrey said.
Without giving too much away, the kids meet some British spies. When they return to the present time, things are very different.
Seventh grader Andy Montvelisky was inspired by his favorite musical, “Beetlejuice.” He and his friends will be performing a number from the show.
“It’s creative,” Andy said of the students writing their own plays. “You have to create a lot of ideas in your head to find one that might work. There is so much you have to think about.”
“There’s no restrictions,” seventh grader Ana Mattinson said of the student work. “You have to figure out how to make all of this possible.”
“I aim to teach the kids to understand human emotion and connection, and to reach for their artistic potential as they embrace the stories they feel they need to tell,” Ms. Dakers said. “These original stories, while often off-beat, also reflect the world in which they live in one way or another. It is important for our young artists to know they have a voice that can be used as a vehicle for self-discovery and influencing change.”
The BBMS Drama Club will present “From the Page to the Stage” on
Thursday May 25th at 7 p.m. in the George C. Trautwein Theater at Blind Brook Middle School/Blind Brook High School. Admission is free.