Working on a play is an extremely valuable opportunity for children of all ages to become aware of the energy and strength of their speech organs and of the power of language. Realizing that the whole body is involved in speaking is an exciting experience.
The children are helped to understand, in an age appropriate way, that when you are in a play, you are lending your body to the character. The way the character speaks, moves, listens, acts in the world changes the body of the student and allows the student to physically experience the “otherness” of the person they are portraying. It helps them truly understand how it is to be “someone else." This not only helps them when they are on stage, but, even more importantly, helps them in all social contexts.
The diction, the enunciation, the pronunciation, the melody of the voice, allowing the emotional responses to spark gestures from within – the palette of possibilities are huge in drama work. It gives the children the confidence and courage, through experience, to stand in front of many people and to make themselves vulnerable.
Watching the choreography of a play unfold teaches the children how to orchestrate an event, how to work collaboratively, how to be a supportive team member and to care deeply about what the collective energy of everyone can achieve. One’s own personal performance is extremely important of course, but, how it contributes to the whole play is equally important.
The 8th Grade play is the culmination of all the recitation, speech and drama work that the children have been engaged in since 1st Grade. Each student is given a part that is challenging in its own way and gives him/her the opportunity to stand in front of an audience and test the confidence and sense of self gained in the eight years at school.