A Case for Plays


A post-play cast photo from our fourth grade production of Aladdin. I am barely visible in glasses and a black shirt on the right edge!

When I interviewed at my school way back when, I was very intrigued by the fact that all classes (in a school of 2,000 students) were expected to perform a play. The principal showed me masks from a recent production of The Lion King and my interest was definitely piqued.

When I was in elementary school, all classes in grades three through five were required to perform a play. I remember the excitement of getting a script, auditioning, practicing, creating scenery, getting into costume, learning songs, and preparing programs. I played the lead in third grade and had the second biggest role in fourth. Unfortunately, by fifth grade, our teachers had complained enough to the point that plays were no longer required or, sadly, expected.

So when I learned that my school indeed did require each class to perform a play, I was super excited. School days nowadays are not as flexible as they were when I was a kid, and it is often difficult to balance the need for practicing for a play with the need to focus on other enrichment, not to mention academics and tests. It is often stressful because everything needs to be done – preferably well! – and it never seems as if there’s enough time in the day.

This week, my class and their second grade friends presented their play. I felt tremendous pride watching them. Right from the outset, I had tears in my eyes when my shyest student – who is often paralyzed by her angst – strode to the middle to confidently and clearly introduce the play. Certainly it was one of the more special moments of my career.

The kids sang, danced, and looked fantastic in their costumes in front of the scenery they painted. Colleagues and administrators had such nice things to say about the performance. Everyone had a great time.

All the complaining I did about how there wasn’t enough time for the play ceased to matter. All that mattered was how proud everyone was at what they accomplished and how much fun it was.

The scenery from this year's play, much of which was painted by students.

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One response to “A Case for Plays

  1. Pingback: Remainders: Brooke Astor estate to leave $30M to city education | GothamSchools

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