“We can work together!” wrote the students, and work together they did!
Mr. Lovejoy’s Special Day Class at Mt. Tam High School devised, wrote, directed and performed an original play called The Super Sensational Nine with guidance from VSA arts YIA Mentor Artist Melissa Briggs.
LEARN – About Theatre
The adapted Drama course began with theatre games through which they learned the elements of performance and playwriting. Students loved warming up their bodies, voices and imaginations every session and remained enthusiastic and flexible throughout this intensive and fast-moving residency.
IMAGINE – The Message
Together they chose the message, or central dramatic theme, for their piece, “its important to be a good son/daughter & role model.” The class was excited to voice how we all “get mad and stressed” but that “we can grow”. Sometimes we are influenced by constraints placed on us, and sometimes by those we place on ourselves but we have to “work together” to be “role models” for each other, our families and our own selves.
WRITE – The Play
In their play, this class of dynamic teens of different abilities confronted those constraints and created a story about seven superheroes who work together to show two supervillians how to “look inside” for the “good inside” them.
Students learned about character development by analyzing their own strengths as well as their unique personality and physical traits. They created superhero Alter Egos built on those strengths. See the Mt Tam Heroes Student Worksheets.
The two supervillians emerged from the story’s need for conflict, the defining element of dramatic playwriting. In the resolution of this short play, the supervillians choose to stop using their “powers for bad” and begin “using them for good” becoming Superheroes! Take a look at the Super Sensational Nine script.
DESIGN – The Production
After crafting detailed character descriptions and awesome names for their superheroes, the Mt. Tam High students chose music and choreographed an energetic superhero movement dance to introduce each character.
A student in the class who is a gifted artist created a cape template; his classmates used this drawing as the foundation of their costume design. With more resources these detailed sketches could have become actual costumes!
The actors blocked their play, with Melissa’s direction, and memorized their lines, created props and chose clothes to wear that matched their superhero colors. Mr.Lovejoy is an amazing teacher and his help throughout was integral to the project. He connected us with Ben Cleveland in the Drama Department at the school who allowed us to perform at the campus main stage, the Daniel Caldwell Performing Arts Center.
The Super Sensational Nine was a huge hit! Every student was committed and participatory. This group of teenagers with diverse abilities brought passion and patience to their collaboration, ultimately encouraging us all through their play to “Look again. Look again. See the good. Inside you.”
As amazing as this experience was… it is just the beginning! Next year, this class of talented young artists will be working with the Tam High School theater department to create a collaborative theater peice through our Arts Unite Us program. Stay tuned!!
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