with the whole school seeing the show, look here for the discourse started in classes all across campus.
Some time ago, Mater Dei sent me to a theatre conference in Burlingame. I attended a six hour master class on “Producing Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project.” It was taught by a Sister of St. Joseph and inspired me to create the Project:Discourse event. She mostly motivated us to to put on Dead Man Walking in order to create discourse amongst the students at our schools. She emphaisized the importance of creating something that all teachers can modify thier lesson plans to teach how their curriculums correspond and relate to the subject matter of the play. I chose to produce Anne Frank for our first Project:Discourse and we had great sucess with involving many departments on the discussion and exploration processes. I remember when we put on our first Project:Discourse, a cast member from Anne Frank came to rehearsal saying, “I thought we were just doing a this play and maybe whoever sees it is part of Project: Discourse. But today my English teaching had us discussing Anne Frank’s diary, and my Biology teacher taught us about malnutrition during the Holocaust.” - Mr. Williams
This is our third annual Project:Discourse event. In continuing the overall idea of discussion, we are building a stage platform and audience arrangement that will bring together all participants. Theatre can be a tool of critical thinking and personal expression. Tim Robbin’s script dares the audience to formulate opinions and express their own perspective. The original script is usually played with one actress in the role of Sister Helen Prejean. In our production two Mater Dei students play the role. One actress is the narrator and the other actress is in the scenes. This allows the audience to hear and see the story of Sister Helen’s life as told by Bryana Corza and as portrayed in 1984 by Joanna Cornejo. This play is about diginity. This play is about sacrifice. This play is about devotion. I hope through classroom participation, the campus will begin a dialogue about human rights and power of redemption. We have already had students pay attention to current events more than before rehearsals began. One cast member came into the theatre classroom during Play Production class and said, “My Dad and I were watching the news this morning about what’s happening in Georgia.” Later that day in rehearsal, our cast prayed for the lives being touched by the excution of Troy Davis. They know that the characters and events in our play are based on real life, so the cast is discussing real life topics and engaging in journaling and presention exercises. I am really looking forward to the process of involving the campus. In mid-November English classes will attend a performance of scenes and participate in Project: Discourse with the cast. This production is being adjudicated by the California Educational Theatre Association for the CETA High School Festival, and is being reviewed and voted on by the CAPPIES organization.
In Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, The Skin of Our Teeth, the Antrobus family has fallen upon hard times due to both natural and man-made disasters threatening the very existence of the human race. With an attention-grabbing plot like this and a talented cast, Project: Discourse 2010 should be a rousing kick-off to the 2010-2011 Mater Dei
The Skin of Our Teeth ignites discussion and promotes a “message of hope and renewal” in the Mater Dei community. Director Mr. Patrick Williams explains, “It is a comedy about climate change, economics, war, book burning, evolution, divorce, natural disasters, and more.” These issues are particularly relevant in our society today as are the biblical references of the script. The purpose of Project: Discourse is to provoke discussion of prominent issues among students and teachers alike. The story of the Antrobus family and the fact that they make it through everything by the skin of their teeth does just that. Project: Discourse focuses on “creating discussion from the themes and messages in the script” which is why there are not many expensive pieces of scenery or other production values, according to Williams.
The large cast will grace the stage this week. “I love working with large casts because it means more students get a chance to be a part of something special,” said Mr. Williams. The dynamic cast includes senior Rocio Sotelo as Sabina, the family’s maid. Representing the Freshman Class are Danielle L’Heureux who plays Gladys Antrobus, the perfect daughter; and Joey Busch, who is playing Henry Antrobus, the son. They will make their Mater Dei theatre debuts with The Skin of Our Teeth. Veteran players, junior Matt Dallal and senior Stephanie Aiesi, return to the stage with Project: Discourse 2010, playing Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, the mother and father. With seven actors making their Mater Dei stage debuts, “there has been an improvisational approach to staging this play that has allowed the cast to express their creativity,” said Mr. Williams.
The three acts of The Skin of Our Teeth are so distinct that they have been rehearsed separately.
“The production will feel like three short plays that are strung together with five reoccurring characters,” said Mr. Williams.
With opening night drawing ever nearer, both the cast and the student body are eager to see the finished show. Aiesi is especially looking forward to “experiencing the audience’s reaction to the show on opening night.” This show is full of surprises that are sure to thrill. Details of the production such as actors playing different characters in each act will add an unpredictable, spontaneous touch to the comedy.
This symbolic show is sure to make you think, laugh, cry, and open your eyes all in one sitting. So buy your ticket, come to the Little Theatre, and enjoy Project: Discourse 2010- not only by the skin of your teeth, but with your funny bone and heart too.
written by Katie Gaiten ‘13