Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

Club gives students a place to fit in

September 20, 2007

When Konstance Jacob joined the teaching staff of Lansing Middle School this year, she knew before she was even hired that she wanted to bring a drama club to its students.

She got her wish and has seen great enthusiasm from the students as more than 35 showed up with permission slips from parents.

"Drama provides students who might not otherwise have options to feel part of school and to feel involved," Jacob said.

Jacob is no stranger to the theater. With a master's degree in theater and 20 self-written and directed plays under her belt, Jacob said she was excited to tap into the talent at LMS. She said an imagination and some willing students are all it takes to create serious drama that will impress everyone.

At the club's first meeting Sept. 12, Jacob said she doesn't direct "silly or cutesy" types of works. She said while the students would be the ones writing and performing the pieces, those pieces would be serious dramas dealing with topics that would translate to all of their peers.

She plans to use no props and mime most of the movements. She said students would improvise during club meetings and develop those ideas into scripts. While there will be lines to remember, she said she will not allow the stiff movements and recitation of perfectly memorized lines that is found in many school plays.

"It's the most scariest and challenging kind of theater," she said. "It requires total invention and real creativity."

Jacob emphasized, however, that she wasn't in the "star-making business." She said everyone is on equal terms. She said she hoped to foster excellence within all of the students and motivate them to create greatness.

Nichole Stickle, 13, said she hopes the club will allow her to further her already-budding theater skills. She said she's always liked drama and is looking for an opportunity to finally put her talent to use.

Stickle said she is confident she will learn something that she can take with her as she pursues a long-term career as an actress.

Hannah Jones, 13, also has dreams of becoming an actress. She said she was full of drama and hoped the club would give her a place to channel that energy.

She also looks at the club's performance opportunities as a second chance. She recalled a past performance where she played a monkey in elementary school and got her line wrong.

The first performance will be a video shown to fellow LMS students on Oct. 4. The piece will kick off the "Be the Change" program that will foster caring and sharing within school. The theme will address how each individual has the chance to change the world.

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