On Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, June 4, 5 & 6, 7:00 pm at St. Lawrence Arts, 76 Congress Street, Portland, Merriconeag Waldorf High School’s senior class will perform Maine playwright John Cariani’s bittersweet romantic comedy, Almost, Maine. This cast of ten has a distinct advantage in terms of ensemble work, for a majority of the class has acted together in a play every year since first grade.
Each year in a Waldorf elementary school, every class performs a play that is chosen to integrate with that year’s curricular themes and topics. The sequence of themes echoes the students’ own development as they progress through childhood. Classroom lessons take on new meaning when the students themselves bring them to life onstage. A few of the plays that these seniors performed during their elementary years were The Golden Goose in 1st grade, Moliere’s The Doctor in Spite of Himself in 7th grade and Michael Ende’s Momo and the Thieves of Time in 8th grade.
For teachers, casting the play is an opportunity to present an appropriate challenge to each student. While one student will play a character with a personality like her own, another may benefit from playing someone very different from herself. In fact, one unique aspect of drama in a Waldorf school is that the plays are not only for the best actors. Every student has a role in every play every year. The students also assist with costumes, sets, and lights, and productions usually include group singing, dancing, and performing on the recorder and other instruments.
In the Waldorf high school the performing arts curriculum continues with drama as an essential element. These seniors went on to perform Our Town in 9th grade, Mary Zimmerman’s mythical Metamorphoses in 10th grade, The Shepherds Play (a Medieval mystery drama) in 11th, and now just a few weeks away from their high school graduation, the ten actors are preparing their culminating performance – the quirky and surprisingly moving Almost, Maine. The play is a midwinter night’s comedy set under the aurora borealis in the fictional northern Maine town of Almost. It is either the saddest happy play or the happiest sad play you will see all year.
While the seniors’ relationship to this play is brand new, the collaborative work of creating theater magic is old hat for this troupe. They inhabit the stage as a unit, and they say things like, “Remember back in third grade how we…” This experience allows the work to go so much deeper, for the benefit of audience and actor alike.
Please join us for a night of theater as the Class of 2014 presents Almost, Maine, a dramatic journey twelve years in the making. Tickets for the play are $5 and available through http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/664843.
Photo attached: -5_copy.jpg
John Burgess and Carlin Tindall of Merriconeag’s 12th Grade Class in a scene from Almost, Maine. Photo by Tricia Toms Photography
Merriconeag Waldorf School, founded in 1984, serves some 250 students in early childhood through Grade 12. Holistic long before it became fashionable, Waldorf Education cultivates multiple intelligences in age-appropriate ways to guide young people towards responsible adulthood. The school is part of a world-wide movement that encompasses more than 1,000 schools. To learn more about Merriconeag Waldorf School, please visit www.merriconeag.org or call the school at 207.865.3900, Ext. 103.