Although she’s written books, Serene has never written a play before. “It takes more steps than you think to make a play,” she learned.
The play she wrote for the class From Story to Stage is a sort of Sword in the Stone meets horror story. “It’s about four kids that are evil who come to a good place. They need to steal the wand to take over the world.” Serene points to a drawing on her “stage” of the magical wand embedded in a large object. “At the last minute, one (of the kids) decides to be good and stops them.”
Serene glued black paper strips to accordion-folded cardboard as she nonchalantly recited the plot of her scary play, which she titled The Evil Proclamation. The cardboard will represent audience seating at the edges of her three-dimensional stage.
Tami stood in a growing line of students, waiting for the teacher to hot glue an element onto her diorama. Gauzy blue and turquoise fabric flowed from the top of her stage area, and cascaded down the walls. “It’s waterfalls from Niagara Falls,” she explained.
Her play, she said, “is, basically, there’s five sisters and two are going to Canada to be with their friend for winter break. They go to Niagara Falls and lose their friend.” The plot develops to include various kidnapping suspects and, eventually, the discovery of their friend “stuck in a cabin. They trapped him so he couldn’t become a team captain for the hockey game,” she continued. But, the story has a happy ending. Justin, the friend, escapes and leads his team to victory.
Tami’s inspiration was a trip to Niagara Falls. “I liked watching the waterfalls and doing the cruise by the falls,” she said.
Piper’s play – Today is the Day When I Sleep – involved “a boy who sleeps the whole day. No one could wake him up!” Her stage setup included a miniature double bed with an iridescent violet bedspread and plump pillows. Other details of the bedroom scene included a picture of a dog on the wall and a deep green velvet rug.
Writing a play and creating a stage set are not the only projects students created as they moved from story to stage. They also created appropriate costumes for their actors.
“We drew pictures of the outfits and we put the fabric we picked on (the picture),” she said. A visit to the giant costume and theatrical supply store Norcostco gave students inspiration. “We got to try on costumes,” Piper said.
Her main character will be clad, of course, in green and red pajamas. And don’t bother to wake him up. This is the day he sleeps.