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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: March ::
Middle School Drama
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0132  Monday, 23 March 2009

[1]  From:  Lynn Brenner <
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      Date:  Friday, 20 Mar 2009 17:37:54 EDT
      Subj:  Re: SHK 20.0129 Middle School Drama

[2]  From:  Mari Bonomi <
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      Date:  Friday, 20 Mar 2009 18:49:28 -0400
      Subj:  Re: SHK 20.0129 Middle School Drama


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Lynn Brenner <
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Date:       Friday, 20 Mar 2009 17:37:54 EDT
Subject: 20.0129 Middle School Drama
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0129 Middle School Drama

Well, Mr. Swilley can certainly give a plot synopsis.

I wonder what he makes of 'The Cherry Orchard' and  'Long Day's Journey 
Into Night', two plays in which arguably even less happens than in 'Our 
Town'.

His diatribe strongly implies that his acute boredom (and 
'embarrassment'  --  why embarrassment?) are a universal audience 
reaction to the play. Yet he must know that's not the case. Perhaps what 
bothers him is that he's the only one squirming.

'Our Town' has always been a great hit with audiences, who unfailingly 
understand and are moved by its point: Life is brief and miraculous, 
even  --  indeed, especially  --  in the mundane realities that we take 
for granted.

Moreover, it is a quintessential piece of theatre, requiring no scenery, 
costumes, or props to create a recognizable world that envelopes its 
audience.

It has no bad roles.

Far from needing to be 'rescued' by a great director, it's virtually 
actor-and-director-proof.

And a play about the brevity of life gains a measure of poignancy when 
it is performed by 12 and 13 year-olds for an audience of their parents 
and grandparents.

What more could one want for a middle school drama department?

        Lynn Brenner

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Mari Bonomi <
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Date:       Friday, 20 Mar 2009 18:49:28 -0400
Subject: 20.0129 Middle School Drama
Comment:    Re: SHK 20.0129 Middle School Drama

To reply to L. Swilley re Our Town...

First, to some, the reminder of the beauty of the little moments in life 
is not boring.

Second, for middle school kids, Our Town can work very well indeed. 
First of all, it's a great chance to get them up and "performing" in the 
classroom. Second, they *do* see their own lives in the lives of the 
protagonists of the play. Finally, the concept of "universality" comes 
clear to many of them more clearly with works like Our Town than with 
most of the other titles available to middle school classrooms.

I don't find it at all boring; I found it very teachable back in the 
day; I think it still speaks to kids today.

Mari Bonomi

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