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Drama Class Gets Plenty of Laughs with Pair of Plays

Left+to+right%3A+Seventh+grader+Casey+Crawford%2C+seventh+grader+Jakob+Kroll%2C+eighth+grader+Robin+Howley%2C+and+seventh+grader+Tyler+Teaford+play+American+revolutionaries+getting+ready+to+ambush+the+British+in+%22The+Entire+American+Revolution+%28in+40+Minutes+or+Less%29.%22
Left to right: Seventh grader Casey Crawford, seventh grader Jakob Kroll, eighth grader Robin Howley, and seventh grader Tyler Teaford play American revolutionaries getting ready to ambush the British in

Left to right: Seventh grader Casey Crawford, seventh grader Jakob Kroll, eighth grader Robin Howley, and seventh grader Tyler Teaford play American revolutionaries getting ready to ambush the British in "The Entire American Revolution (in 40 Minutes or Less)."

Mr. Crisafi

Mr. Crisafi

Left to right: Seventh grader Casey Crawford, seventh grader Jakob Kroll, eighth grader Robin Howley, and seventh grader Tyler Teaford play American revolutionaries getting ready to ambush the British in "The Entire American Revolution (in 40 Minutes or Less)."

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For the first time in a while, the seventh and eighth-grade drama class performed not one, but two separate plays during their spring show this year. One was called The Entire American Revolution (in 40 Minutes or Less), and the second was a 10-minute performance from the 1930s titled The Still Alarm. The first performance of these two plays was held for the TBS community on the evening of Wednesday, April 26. On April 27, Mr. Bob Bayless’ drama class performed these two comedies for the entire middle school during a special assembly at the end of the day in the Barker Performing Arts Center.

Left to right: eighth graders Robin Howley, Will Mahon, Carter Stewart, and Tommy Rose contemplate what to do next in “The Still Alarm.”

The show was pushed back from March 30 and 31 due to illness as many of the cast members were stricken with colds and the flu. However, even though the actors ended up having to wait an extra four weeks to perform, Bayless thought that they did an extraordinary job.“This performance went so well because the students worked so hard,” he said. “I also think the chemistry of the class, having 16 boys, also helped everyone work together really well.”

The sicknesses that ran rampant through the School also caused a little bit of confusion among the actors, and also made some of the actors more nervous because they had to wait longer to perform.

“The illnesses halted the momentum and certainly produced some anxiety for the actors.” said Fine Arts Department Chair Ms. Nancy McAllister. “Postponing the show was our only option, but I think that the drama students did a fine job.”

Some of the actors liked the fact that the performance was delayed. The eighth graders had fun performing on stage as well. Carter Stewart, who played King George III in the first play and a cigar-smoking firefighter in the second, explained that even though there was a delay, “It made it better because kids learned their lines and cues [better].” He also felt that two plays were harder to do than just one because “there were more costumes and props.”

This show would not have been possible without those 16 drama students – all boys in seventh and eighth grade. Many of them actually thought the play was easier to run than usual. “I didn’t think it was extremely hard to memorize my lines, and the performance went better than expected,” said seventh grader Ben Taylor, who played a British officer in The Entire American Revolution . Seventh grader Tyler Teaford also felt like preparing for the play was not too hard, but he got his first dose of stage fright.

“Being in the play was pretty easy, but it was so nerve racking when I first went on stage, I almost forgot my lines!” Teaford said. “After a while, I was able to get through it, though.”

Mr. Crisafi
Seventh grader Sai Chigurupati, who plays a female English sympathizer, is in love with the American minuteman played by eighth grader Will Mahon.

While five of the eighth graders were in both plays – a tall task – perhaps no one had a more challenging (or hilarious) role than seventh grader Sai Chigurupati, who played a British lady, Gertrude, during The Entire American Revolution., “I felt kind of awkward in makeup since I’ve never worn lipstick or anything before.,” said Chigurupati. “It was pretty funny, though, and I think I pulled it off pretty well.”

McAllister was also involved with the show, helping to choose roles for the play and preparing the sets. She explained that there was a lot that went into the casting process.
“Planning any drama or musical performance begins with a read through [that] is done as a class, and then the students have to choose two to three roles they would like to audition for,” explained McAllister. “Each student prepares on their own and with the director. As a team, [the Fine Arts teachers] watch and videotape the auditions and we make notations per audition as to how the student performed.”

When the plays were shown to the entire Middle School on April 27, they received a lot of laughs from the students, an indication that they enjoyed them. “I really enjoyed watching the plays because they were funny and entertaining,” said eighth grader Molly Fried. “Even though there was a delay, I am really glad they were still able to perform during the school day.”

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Drama Class Gets Plenty of Laughs with Pair of Plays