The Show Must Go On

| March 1, 2011

It’s true… The 8th grade is doing a musical… You’re not excited? It’s “The Princess and the Pea.” The timeless story of one man’s search for love and his mother’s heavy hand. You’re going to love it!

If you read that with enthusiasm then you’re already two steps ahead. Like most projects, getting everyone on board is crucial. This shared awareness goes a long way in producing a quality product. The 8th grade however seems ostensibly apathetic. What can be done?

For me this issue boils down to one thing: Comfort. Comfort is more of a feeling but nonetheless, it represents the state of mind where a student can most easily share what’s on their mind or in their heart. This state of mind acknowledges the absence of judgment (both peer and self) and can allow students to embrace their experiences (however foreign).

But what can you expect from a mess of apathetic 8th graders? The answer: A lot!

Using the sing along and instrumental CDs we purchased with the score sing-along classes have allowed students to try on different roles, sing in different musical styles, and bond as a class. Going further, we found the Disney version of “The Princess and the Pea” aptly titled “Once Upon a Mattress” and watched clips in class. This helped students get a better idea of what a musical “looks like.” After watching the clips we asked the students what they noticed about the actors. “Enthusiasm!” They exclaimed.

Now time can only tell what will be but, the introduction of this musical with audio and visual aids has thus far increased student interest. In the future a video recording of the show’s dress rehearsal may be a powerful tool in refining and perfecting the show.

(I personally always think that technology equates to large amounts of complexity, a though I enjoy. I was surprised to make the connection to a boombox and DVD player but can see now that I must have taken these technologies for granted.)