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Short plays to highlight junior high, high school drama

The drama department class, made up of both junior high and high school students, will be performing two holiday theme plays this semester: The Christmas Dress and Christmas with Little Women, Dec. 8-9. The Civil War era plays will be shown on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. in Ground Zero Main. The drama class decided to offer free admission to the plays, as a gift to the community.

Director Susan Ainley has conducted the drama department for the last two years which involved extra hours outside of school.

“Teaching high school drama has been both a challenge and a blessing,” Ainley said. “The students at FC are highly motivated to produce an outstanding show, giving up many hours outside of school to practice.”

While balancing both drama and elementary and junior high choir, Ainley has received assistance from alumna Mary Hierholzer’s, ’12, mom, Karin Hierholzer, with preparing the costumes for the show.

“We have the benefit of the masterful costume design of Mrs. Hierholzer,” Ainley said. “She reused some costumes from last year’s play, and made several new dresses of the era, petticoats and all. The girls in the cast love wearing the long, full gowns, and it helps them get into the spirit of the play.”

The first play is called The Christmas Dress where the story revolves around two sisters who have to share one party dress for special occasions. Miriam DeWolf, ’13, plays the oldest of the two sisters.

“I’m playing one of the main characters in the smaller play, A Christmas Dress,” DeWolf said. “My character is the oldest of two sisters who is usually bossy and takes charge of everything but she knows what to do and gets stuff done.”

Although DeWolf has been in drama for the past six years, she talks about how she still feels nervous before each proformance.

“Every performance I get a little nervous, but it’s not as bad as it use to be,” Dewolf said. “To get ready, I usually remind myself the day of that there is a proformance tonight and ask myself ‘do I know everything?’ If so, I’m ready to go.”

Taking on the roles of different characters in various plays in the past, Dewolf has created a specific way that helps her get into her character.

“I create a back story for my character that may not nessecarily be in the script,” Dewolf said. “Basically what I do is I think of a background for my character, like why my character acts that way she does, why my character feels a certain way or what is my relationship with other characters.”

In order for DeWolf to feel fully prepared for a proformance, she spends extra time rehearsing her lines, whether it is during or outside of class.

“I practice a lot in class when I can be on stage and act it out,” DeWolf said. “I read the script over and over again that way I know my partners lines as well as my own, so I know when I should come on, when my que is and what time I should say my lines. If my partner is open to it, we will usually meet somewhere during lunch or after school to practice.”

Guest actor Christopher Grossman accepted Ainley’s request of taking the part of Laurie Lauerence in Christmas with Little Woman after a previous student dropped out.

“The person who was plying the part left the school, so Mrs. Ainley came and asked me to play the part because I have been in drama before,” Grossman said. “Earlier I told her that if she needed an extra body or an extra part that I would be willing to help out. I was originally going to do drama this year but it did not fit in my schedule.”

Being in drama during his junior high years, Grossman has past experience acting a figure out on stage and understands how to get into the chosen character.

“Getting into character, I try to think about what the character would have been like back 100 years ago,” Grossman said. “I have to think about the gramatical differences like slang terms and aviod using them in the play. I try to stick to the verbatum of the lines and I really try to capitalize on all my emotions and play them out.”

Having previously played the character of God in The Bible in Thirty Minutes or Less, Grossman knows how to be composed in front of an audience. He tries to relax and portray confidence while on stage.

“When I’m prepared for a play, I don’t really get nervous,” Grossman said. “The part I’m playing is a fifteen year old boy so it will not be that difficult to duplicate my characters attitude.”

Both students in junior high and high school will both be performing on the selected days. During the performance the class will have a donation box available for cash gifts to be given to the local animal shelter to help them during this season.

For more features, read the Dec. 3 article, Experienced editors give new perspective to The Shield.

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