After two excellent evening performances of School House Rock Live Jr., this year’s musical has come to a close, or at least the performances have. However, if you were to walk the hallways upstairs or to step inside the Junior High classroom, it is likely that you would hear one of the musical’s songs being sung; a reminder that theatre productions or more precisely the experience, continues on after the performance has finished.
As spectators we usually only see the finished product and are rarely privy to what came before the show or what comes after. We don’t see the countless hours spent by each actor memorizing their lines at school and at home; we do not see how they have balanced their schedule to fit in evening rehearsals in addition to school work and other extra-curricular activities; we do not see their confidence grow from the beginning of rehearsals to the end and we do not see how the experience has changed them.
Theatre is more than entertainment, it is the conduit for imagination, humor, critical thinking, and for better understanding others and ourselves; this could not be more true than for school plays. When an actor assumes a role, especially one that requires them to assume a personality unlike their own, they are learning a fundamental skill: how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes or in other words, how to empathize. But it does not stop there, students who participate in school plays also develop organizational skills, confidence in public speaking and the ability to collaborate with others. For these reasons and so many more, Drama has a vital place at BHMS and in the Junior High program.