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Finding Meaning Through Theater

Ms. West
Quantico | March 3, 2019

Students pose for the camera at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Students pose for the camera at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. | Photo: A West

After several weather set-backs and subsequent performance cancellations, QMHS Drama, 8th grade English students, AVID MS and HS students attended the long anticipated play at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, February 26th.  The play She A Gem was a Kennedy Center commissioned play, written by Josh Wilder, and focused around a group of girls who form a double-dutch team in inner city Philadelphia to compete in their neighborhood pageant.  According to the field trip's organizer, Ms. West, the goal was to expose students to the arts, to really get them to take an interest in all that the performing arts has to offer in terms of a cultural experience.  It is important to cultivate the next generation of theater-goers.

It appears many students were very touched by the performance and numerous connections to their curricular studies.  8th grade English student David Wright, even noticed a literary element in the play: "The play was well-written in terms of foreshadowing".  Additionally, Samantha Dilley, another 8th grader, participated in the after-performance discussion, telling the moderator she thought the theme of the play was feminism (a political, social, and economical movement that was recently studied in relation to the novel Little Women that was read in English class).  Other, more visual students, noticed the set and lighting design, Victoria Smith commented: "I think the play was colorful because of the painting on the walls and the designs on the ground floor." Perhaps, however, it was Julianna Johnson who summed it up best:  "She a Gem is about sisterhood, and that forgiveness is more powerful than jealousy, hate or anger during troubling times." 

Next year, Ms. West plans to form an even more symbiotic relationship with the Kennedy Center and work on educational programs that could bring visiting guest professional performers into the schools, as well as exposing more students in various grade levels to the magic of live performance with play attendance.

Advanced drama students Abigail Sykes, Ethan Jones, and Mariah Ortegon pose with the cast members of She A Gem.
Advanced drama students Abigail Sykes, Ethan Jones, and Mariah Ortegon pose with the cast members of She A Gem. | Photo: A West

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