Children’s Shows entertain

April 23, 2009 — by Sulmaan Hassan and Holden Sparacino

The drama department made some serious changes last year when drama teacher and director Chris Mahle was hired two years ago. The student productions were replaced with a One Act Festival which enabled more students to try their hand in directing and producing a show. This year, Mahle decided to change things up again with the initiation of the Children’s Shows.

The Children’s Shows were similar to the One Act Festival, which will still be held later this year. However, unlike the One Act Festival, the Children’s Shows let students from the Drama 4 Honors class adapt a children’s story into a stage production.

“This year, the Children’s Shows were the primary focus, while the One Act Festival was secondary from the beginning” said senior stage manager Matt Hawks, who also was stage manager for the One Act Festival last year. “The Children’s Shows are like the One Act Festival last year.”

The reason for the switch, said Hawks, is that the Children’s Shows give more experience to students than directing a one act play would, because the directors also had to transform a written story, most of them only a few pages, into a production with their own sound, light, costumes and actors and perform their shows in front of an audience of children, as well as one show that was open to the public.

Hawks’ job included working out the kinks in the new project, such as trying to get publicity and a sizable audience.

“Unfortunately, information didn’t get out in time to the elementary schools, so they weren’t able to arrange field trips,” said Hawks.

However, the Children’s Shows did have the full attention of Saratoga High’s preschool, and their work was well enjoyed.

“They were laughing the whole time,” said senior director Christina Lauro.

Along with the preschool, some Saratoga High classes also attended the show, which spanned the better part of a period on April 16 and 17.

Both the actors and high school audience thought it was enjoyable to have preschoolers in the audience. Junior Sahm Jafari, who saw the show with his chemistry class, said having the preschoolers in the audience laugh first made a lot of the high school students follow.

“It really appealed to the younger audience,” said Jafari.

Junior actor Sung Park also enjoyed performing in front of the younger audience.

“They were really into it, and gave a lot of honest laughs,” said Sung, who acted as King Stanton in ‘The Frog Prince.’ “Back stage everyone was listening to the kids laughing and were saying ‘aww, its so cute!’”

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