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L-EHS Drama Dept. showcases student work

Posted: December 21, 2014 11:25 a.m.
Updated: December 22, 2014 1:00 a.m.
Tenell Felder/C-I

Two students practice a scene where one friend admits that he loves another who has a crush on someone else. The play, “Lessons,” was performed last week for students and family.

 

Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS) drama students recently portrayed the perils, joys and everyday challenges of high school life in their winter production. The play consisted of a series of monologues, written by L-EHS Drama III students, dealing with issues such as pregnancy, parent’s divorce, social media mishaps, relationship issues and navigating friendships. The play followed a group of students through their senior year in high school.

“The show is a lot about us as high school students and what we go through on a day to day basis,” Robert Blitz said.

The play served as a culmination of months of work, especially writing and editing. Students described the creative process as challenging. To get things started, drama teacher Julie McCallum instructed her students to come up with prompts to different words. The words were to be used to develop an idea for a script.

“It was a really long process, we did it over a two month period and we wrote every single day. So when we ended up writing together around that second month, we were running out of ideas,” Paige Martin said. “Eventually, we had to collaborate with Ms. McCallum and each other to figure out how we were going to work this into one fluid play. We figured out by reading all of (the scripts) that, wow, this is exactly what high school is.”

Ultimately, writers in the class wanted their peers to relate to their production.

“We wanted it to be based on high school lessons and how people react to different situations,” Caroline Catoe said.

“We wanted to make sure that is something everybody could relate to,” Hanna Herfurth added.

Students in the Drama III class also learned how to write material which could be performed in front of an audience. During one sketch, a student has his wisdom teeth removed at the dentist and the pain killers leave him woozy. His mom decides to record his humorous antics with plans to post it on social media.

“The dentist office scene actually had multiple scenes to it where it started off in the office, then the waiting room and then the parking lot. I told them we can’t do that on stage, it will take forever and this is a one-act show. I always worry that they will hear me saying ‘this is not good’, but I’m trying to help them see how we can make it doable” McCallum said.

Her students took her feedback and were able to successively tweak the sketch into a one-act scene.

Students said editing one another’s ideas and getting feedback from McCallum were vital to putting together a script.

“We rewrote multiple times. By the end of the project, we had 80 scripts. It was really hard to get rid of some of them because you felt personally connected to them,” Paige said.

Other students in the class agreed with Paige that cutting back their work was difficult, even describing it as “painful.”

McCallum said she helped her students through that process.

“I wanted them to understand as young writers that sometimes the hardest part is the editing process because you’re very attached to what you’ve done,” McCallum said.

Students also learned how to deal with not always writing something which could be used at first glance.

“Not everything you write is going to be gold. Sometimes it can be held over for something later. One of the things that happened when they would read the script is that they would be like ‘uh … that’s not that good.’ But ‘that’s not that good’ actually turned into something for someone else that became good. So the creative process is not always about hitting it out of the ball park, it’s about trying and putting it out there and knowing that what doesn’t work for you will actually serve as a catalyst for inspiration for someone else,” McCallum said.

When it came time for casting, the Drama III class held auditions for students in Drama I and II. The Drama III students said while their classmates were nervous for auditions, they were nervous about how they would feel about the script.

“We knew we liked (the scripts), but then we had to worry about would Drama II like them? Would it just be our inspiration? Because if they don’t see the vision we see, it’s not going to work,” Paige said.

Students read the script out loud as Drama III students decided how they would cast each part.

“We did one day where we sat in a circle and gave everyone a script. It was weird having everyone else read them,” Caroline said.

“We were used to hearing our voices and then when you have someone else reading them you are like, that’s really good or actually it’s not so good,” Hanna said.

McCallum is very proud of her students’ hard work and dedication in writing, running and producing the show.

“What I really want people to understand is that what you see up on the stage is a fraction of the work that these kids did,” McCallum said.

 

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