Many behind the scenes for Patuxent school play


May 01, 1998|By Lourdes Sullivan | Lourdes Sullivan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LET'S PUT on a play!"

Were there ever more hopeful words than those spoken by Mickey Rooney to Judy Garland in the movies? Well, sometimes life imitates art -- Patuxent Valley Middle School is putting on its first play tonight.

It promises to be a rousing success, due, in no small measure, to the combined enthusiasm of the administration, parents, staff and students.

The school has a terrific stage, but it has never been used for a real play.

One reason, said Jan Kaplan, the play's director and overall guiding light, is that there are very few plays written for a middle school audience.

But this year, according to Kaplan, Principal Sterlind Burke searched for opportunities to involve students and parents in after-school, community-oriented activities.

Although Kaplan joined the school as a French teacher, her theater experience and college drama club membership were noted on her resume.

She and fellow teacher Sarah Talley got to work. They started a drama club, a first for the school. When it came time to choose a play, the teachers were pleased to discover that "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" was not only appropriate, but also relevant to the curriculum.

Talley, the eighth-grade English teacher, has her students cover a unit on medieval and mythic literature. The sixth- and seventh-graders have studied the Middle Ages and the tenets of chivalry. As a bonus, the play is funny.

Because this is the school's maiden effort, there is no prop room or costume closet to raid for dressing the set or the actors. That's where the school community pitched in.

A call went out for clothes, props and scenery materials that could be adapted to create a medieval environment. The response was generous.

Parents contributed old clothes. With the help of Eileen Reid, the home economics teacher, students Lindsie Augustyniak, Amanda Sanner and Maggie Wolfendale made costumes on the school's sewing machines.

An added bit of welcome assistance came from parent Linda Wieman. A graphic artist by trade, she sewed many of the costumes herself and helped with the set designs.

Jennifer and Heather Frederick's parents learned that the club needed large boxes for the set. They delivered a number of refrigerator boxes.

With an assist from art teacher Joanne Hutchens, these were speedily converted into castles and forests.

The custodial staff spent hours teaching the young crew members how to run the light board and hang stage lights. Without that help, Gwyn Mitchell, Liz Braganza, Lindsay Clark, Lyndsay Decker and Jordan Lowry would not have succeeded so well at their jobs as stage managers and technical crew.

The gym teachers were understanding of the competing needs for space in the school's gymnasium/auditorium and helped keep things running smoothly.

A special thanks goes to Andre Jennings -- King Arthur in the play -- who warmed up his computer to design the posters for the show, and to Cathy Whitehead, who works at the neighboring Bollman Bridge Elementary.

When she was asked if the drama club could use a poster maker at that school, she offered to make the posters herself. A final thank-you goes to the parents of teachers Kaplan and Talley. Those good folks raided their closets and attics for realistic props.

Bollman Bridge sale

Come one and all. The Bollman Bridge Elementary spring yard sale and book fair will be held tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For a few dollars, come get toys, household items and maybe a winter jacket that someone has outgrown.

Be kind to your wallet and help someone else's bottom line. The book fair will have books at 50 percent off regular prices.

It will be a long summer, so stock up on reading materials for the family. Bollman Bridge Elementary is at 8200 Savage-Guilford Road in Savage.

ChADD meeting

ChADD -- Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders -- will meet at 7: 30 p.m. May 19 at Laurel Regional Hospital. The topic will be "An Overall Picture of ADD; Identification and Treatments." For details and directions: 301-498-2162.

Pub Date: 5/01/98

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