Submitted By: Katherine Han
Most people have been to a play or have seen a live action movie before. But watching a movie seems so much like an activity, or something you would do during your free time. So how can being in a play be beneficial to you in school? I go to a school that has a very strong arts and musical theater department. Many students from our school go off to college majoring in musical theater. However, at first glance, this doesn’t seem like it can be beneficial in school. So what are the benefits of a strong musical theater department?
Many people see theater as a time to play or an activity, and they are right. But what most people don’t realize that being in a school production means you also get a chance to interact with other students and work cooperatively. It takes more than one person to put a production together, it takes a whole group of people working together. Everyone must all work as one to successfully put together a show. So while you are having fun, you are also learning how to cooperate and work in a team. At my school, there are students from different grades performing in one production. So you would have to interact with students of all different ages, including interacting with the director. Sometimes in theater there is a thing called “costume change”, where an actor has to go change one character to another and most times includes changing the costume and makeup in a very short amount of time. When this happens, the actor that has the “costume change” needs help from other students in order to get the change done and get on stage in time. I once had a situation where an actor playing as an ogre had to change into a fairytale creature in approximately one minute. This required a full costume and makeup removal and change, as well as full cooperation. We needed to work together in order to get that actor onstage in time.
Another benefit of having a strong theater department is that you learn how to clearly communicate. Theater is all about communicating. You must be able to say your lines clearly and loudly so that the entire audience can hear and understand you. It’s like you are giving a speech, but as different characters, which makes public speaking so much more fun. Other than saying lines, you also need to communicate clearly backstage and during rehearsals. If there is a problem with props or costumes, which there normally is, you need to tell the director or the costume manager in time or the problem may never get fixed. The students helping backstage with changes such as lights and scenes, as well as the “tech crew” also need to clearly communicate, both with the technical directors and with the actors. Without the tech crew, there is no show. When each sound effect, scene change, or light-effect needs to happen all depends on communication. Or else, a scene change may happen at the wrong time and could possibly jeapordize the show. Once during a play rehearsal, the sound manager accidentally pressed the “fart” sound effect, due to miscommunication. It was funny at the moment, but if they had made the same communication problem during the show, it may not have been as funny.
Being in a production is a huge responsibility and takes up a lot of time. So along the way, you must learn how to be a responsible person and balance out your homework and the shows. Being in a production requires a lot of dedication and time. Sometimes the main roles can spend days memorizing their lines, and in a musical, the songs too. This takes out time from doing homework and other activities. When I was in our school production, I would have to try to finish all of my homework in the small amount of time I had before shows and rehearsals. Additionally, I had to work on homework throughout the show when I wasn’t on stage. In some cases, I had to talk to teachers to ask if I could take a quiz or a test a few days later after school so I would have more time to study. Being in a production takes a lot of hard work, but so does school work,thus, you must be responsible and understand that you have taken up a hard challenge, in some cases this includes talking to your teachers about your situation and figuring out how you could be on top of your homework.
As you can see, being in a play is more than just being on stage and saying some lines. It takes cooperation, communication, and responsibility. Additionally, along the way, you learn how to be a responsible, cooperative person. Besides all that, being in a school play with all of your friends, is a lot of fun.