This week is our first week of all-school rehearsals for our original musical, A Little Grimm. Based on fairy tales, this year’s school play allows each student in school the perfect part for him or her, the chance to work together onstage with peers and other students, the practice of speaking loudly and clearly, the fun of adding some spice and some life to a character, and the opportunity to be (quite literally) spotlighted on the stage of an historic opera house in front of family and community as a final performance.
No big deal.
This process has evolved at my school over the past, oh, almost 30 years, so the idea of taking an original script (written by a teacher) and turning it into a full-blown public performance… including every student, K-8, in the whole school… in three weeks… while taking state tests… and still teaching, ya know, school… is not completely crazy.
It can certainly seem crazy at times. Our planning times disappear, as our art and music teachers are busy with costumes and scene songs. The germs come on fast and hard, as people get tired and stretched and become more loose with their hand-washing routines. First and second graders (and all other students, too!) become more wiggly than normal, as our daily schedule morphs into a constantly moving target, and what they’ve come to rely on is kinda thrown out the window.
It’s totally worth it. (Have I used that line in another post before?? 😉 )
Emotional self-regulation tools that we’ve discussed all year become essential and consistent. Kiddos who were typically more shy at school blossom into joke-telling, character-trait-identifying, projecting actors and actresses. Reading takes on a whole new meaning to some younger students, as they now need to read their lines to be responsible for their part in the play. Community members and alumni of our school write and record the original songs for the play. Teachers have the songs stuck in their heads, on repeat, at all hours of the day (and night)… yeah, that one’s maybe less worth it.
However you slice it, we, as a school, are taking on something hard. Everyone’s on board. Everyone will have moments of success and moments of struggle. Everyone is equipped to manage both kinds of moments, and if they need some extra support from adults during this challenging three week period, then they only have to look up. We’re here, we’re ready, and we’re probably feeling all of it right alongside them.