2012 Middle School Play James and the Giant Peach with a steampunk twist!

This year the Middle School play was James and the Giant Peach, a stage adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl children’s book. Producing the Middle School play is mainly a parent-driven enterprise, though the parents work closely with a teacher-liaison.

The director of this year’s play is a parent who has donated her time to this project for many years now. For the first time in several years, we decided to undertake a musical. The catch was that this script had lyrics, but no music. Fortunately, we had a parent with experience both in songwriting and sound systems, so we had the songs (including all the orchestrations) written, and the accompaniments recorded, just for us. We also added a set of wireless microphones, so the audience could hear better than ever before.

In addition, we have parents with expertise in sets, costumes and props who, assisted by Middle School students, created the various design elements to give the play a unique look–a sort of “children’s fantasy meets steampunk” vision! Stage crew is an elective option for Middle School students who are interested in learning about the backstage side of theater. The students work on creating the sets, costumes and props, as well as working backstage during the performances.

Students interested in performing onstage can take an acting elective.  All students who have taken the acting elective, either the same year or in previous years, are eligible to be in the Middle School play if they so choose.  We hold auditions to assign roles, but any eligible student will get a part in the play, as long as they agree to the code of conduct.
The students who elect to be in the play work hard, but have a great time, too.  Being in a play requires dedication, many hours of rehearsals, memorizing lines and blocking, and concentration on stage.  While we want them to have fun, we also insist that they take it seriously and give it their best effort, so we can put on a polished and entertaining performance.  It is always gratifying to see how these young people grow during the process, digging down deep to get through juggling homework and rehearsals, working cooperatively with their fellow actors, and overcoming opening night jitters.  It takes courage to get up in front of strangers and classmates to perform, but the students end up demonstrating for family, friends, and the community their hard work.  Sometimes they even surprise themselves with what they can do!