In honor of Earth Day, dosage students in Jan Hunter’s Advanced Drama Class opened their show "What if...?" on Friday, stuff April 23, 2010 with two performances at Skyline High School. The show was created in collaboration with San Francisco’s Circus Center and aims to provide peer to peer encouragement and education about reducing waste and caring for the environment.
Register or Login to download a copy of the script: What If?
Student Jonathan Trinh explains how the show was produced:
The process was initiated after visiting the Circus Center in San Francisco, where we observed a short play performed and produced by the Circus Center's performers. Two of those performers, Natasha Kaluza and Jamie Coventry, assisted in the editing of our script and staging of some scenes. The original concept was to incorporate acting, dance, and music since the Advanced Drama class has a variety of talents and each of us has some experience spanning all three fields. From there, the initial idea was to adopt a popular story into contemporary language and appropriate for the audience (such as Goldy Locks and the Three Bears) because we liked that the performers from the Circus Center did just that. But that plan flopped after a thorough brainstrom. However, after pitching the new concept of a contemporary, relatable piece (teens hanging out together at a local park), the script acquired the fantastical, dramatic element that would allow us to exaggerate the costumes and plot, be creative, and make a normal setting more interesting. The "futuristic" segment was thus born. We were also inspired by the Circus Center's complete use of recycled and reused materials for props and costumes to reduce their environmental impact and short vignettes that taught a particular lesson. We followed that same ideas: We used existing props and created our costumes from reused materials or anything we had in our own wardrobe; and we separated the "futuristic" scene into 4 vignettes where one teen learns about one of the four R's. (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot)
For each of us, this project was definitely an enlightening experience. It was the first time most of us wrote, produced, and directed an entire performance from scratch. We were allowed a lot of freedom from Ms. Hunter, who stepped back and forced us to make our own mistakes and learn from them. The process was very stressful, time consuming, and even spawned tension between peers over the individual responsibility (contributing to the project). We needed more bodies to fill the stage and tried recruiting volunteers to serve as "extras." We needed to try to cope or compromise around the busy schedules of various cast mates while rehearsng everyday after school. There was without a doubt a lot of struggle and doubt to pull the performance together in two weeks, especially after spring break when the script was finalized. The hard effort did pay off after the second assembly performance, when each of us felt a sense of relief and accomplishment.
I think we all learned something new and important about waste and waste reduction, which we applied to our own lives. Following the school waste audit that Caroline helped organize for our class, we quickly observed the conditions and impacts our school has. A lot of trash could have been composted or recycled, for instance, but will end up in landfills because of a lack of a compost system or they were improperly disposed of. We learned shocking facts (such as the info on the powerpoint slides Caroline presented) and what we could recycle; how our daily habits affected the earth, climate change, natural resources, plants and animals, etc. We've all admitted that we each have been more environmentally conscious about our wastes at school and home!
Skyline performed a second staging of the show in late May for the students of Montara Middle School in Oakland (View coverage from EarthTeam here). "Thank you for sending the Skyline honors drama class to Montera. Their play was terrific and the middle school kids really enjoyed the production. It was a great connection and we hope to build on this event with more cross school contact." ~Montara Teacher Jeannie Kohl.