The group of 34 fourth-through-sixth-graders who gathered for the first meeting of Riccardi’s Drama Club called out emotions, trying to guess the word that was being acted out. After picking a slip of paper out of a container, they each took a turn, encouraging one another to try the activity if they were reluctant, and sometimes giving suggestions for their friends.
Even when not playing a game, the excitement among the students was palpable. Parent Emily Trotter-Bodie led them through a discussion of the elements necessary to putting on a production, including sets and costumes. When she asked them if they knew what props were, hands shot up, some calling out the answer, all eager to show off their knowledge.
Still, in spite of the enthusiasm and participation, not all those who attended were keen on the idea of performing on stage in front of the student body. Trotter-Bodie stressed that it was just fine; help was necessary backstage, too. “One is not more important than the other,” she told them.
The production the students will be putting together is “Where the Wild Things Are.” It will be held at the beginning of the readathon day in January, a day Osterhoudt said would be appropriate to “make a book come to life.”
In order to stay on schedule for the production planned, all hands need to be on deck. Principal Sue Osterhoudt stressed this to the students, reminding them of the importance of their commitment. She said they waited to start the Drama Club until the winter concert was over, so students would have fewer potential conflicts.
After learning which play they’d be performing, one student raised her hand to share her idea for creating the vines the wild things of the book hang from. When another asked what they would do with the vines when the stage is meant to be a bedroom, Trotter-Bodie chimed in, explaining they would be able to light only the bed area, in essence “hiding” the vines. “What a neat trick!” “That’s so smart!” “How cool!” the students alternately called out. Indeed, it seemed the magic of the theater had taken root at Riccardi.