All the world’s a stage according to your school’s drama department.
Photo credit: Flickr CC user Hunter Desportes
“What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.” – Alfred Hitchcock
Lights! Camera! Action!
In high school, I was a self-proclaimed dabbler. I would join a club for a semester or two and poop out or lose patience with it fairly quickly. However, there were two clubs I never tired of – the school newspaper and the drama club. In fact, I was so into my school’s drama department that I became the president of the International Thespian club chapter on our campus and had big dreams of making it big on the stage and screen. Eventually, my life path did lead me to Hollywood but my calling was in entertainment journalism and not hamming it up on the big screen.
The drama kids at my school were an interesting bunch. A mix of oddballs and cool kids, play practice was the only time you’d see two completely different cliques come together and produce something really awesome. During my freshman and sophomore year the drama club went through a rough patch with funding issues and almost faced extinction. It was a crazy time, and many drama kids looked to get their acting fix elsewhere by doing community theater productions or producing their own underground shows. By junior and senior year the spotlights were burning brightly, and the curtains were up and I ended my high school career with a standing ovation.
Shakespeare was onto something when he said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players.” Just like in life, live theater can get a little crazy because you never know what is going to happen. A costume change can go haywire, or someone might forget their entrance, and you have to figure out in real time how to solve the problem and fast. Your school’s drama department is a direct reflection of how to handle life events. Why not give the students that live and breathe it their moment to shine in the yearbook?
It’s important to document all of the drama department’s shows – whether it’s a small night of student-produced one acts or a full-scale production of Rent featuring half the school. It’s all relevant. Plus, how cool would it be to have archival footage of the talented class clown’s stand-up routine at the talent show on hand when he gets cast on Saturday Night Live?
While it’s important to document what the audience sees, it’s also important to break down that fourth wall and get an inside peek into life backstage. The bonds that form between the cast and crew during a production are insanely tight, especially when you’re putting in long rehearsal hours and after-school time creating sets, printing up programs, and advertising around town. If you’re able to capture the fun and family-like community that comes out of a production, your spread has the potential to really stand out.
Interview the cast and crew after each performance like you would a football player after a game. Ask them about the audition process and how they handle nerves. What are some tricks they have for learning lines? What got them interested in theater? Will they pursue it in college or beyond high school? Use these gems. Pepper the layout with these fun facts and pieces of information.
You can also have the students involved in each production submit their behind-the-scenes shots. Have them take selfies backstage or share candid shots.
Go break a leg!