“Totus mundus agit histrionem.”
When translated, the above Latin quote means “All the World’s a Stage” which is the motto of the Globe Theatre owned chiefly by William Shakespeare and the King’s Men. It is also a famous line from a most famous speech by Jacques from As You Like It.
This past month, I enjoyed another fantastic performance by my high school’s drama department for their spring musical play and am again convinced that by allowing for students to pursue interests in the arts is as worthwhile an endeavor as any in our public schools.
Actually, I not only enjoyed it, I got to be part of it.
Hairspray might be one of the hardest musicals to produce. The singing. The sets to be built. The choreography. The timing. The music. The orchestra pit.
There is a bit role for a principal to send Tracy Turnblad to detention for an infraction. For each of the three performances, that role was played by various faculty members. I got to perform it on opening night because that was the only night I had available.
That whole outfit is mine. The wig, the glasses, the blazer – all mine.
When I as a teacher am asked to be a part of something that students deem important to them, then it is not another “duty;” it is an honor. When I look back on my career as a teacher, moments like these are the ones that will provide the best of memories.
And I got to be backstage watching these incredible young adults do something they are passionate about. They were a team. They pulled for each other.
The best part was that my own daughter was helping backstage as well.
What if people in Raleigh could have seen that.
If you have read many of my posts and op-eds, it is not uncommon for me to make parallels between what is performed on screen or stage to real life as art tends to imitate life in wickedly realistic ways. Add to that the fact that many of us (myself included) have a lot of drama in our lives.
But more importantly, there is so much evidence and research that the fine arts enhance any student’s ability to improve in all academic areas. Theater, music, visual arts, and dance help students expand themselves and develop self-esteem, confidence, creativity, and self-expression.
And there are some fantastic drama productions where I teach. There are fantastic productions in many high schools across this state because drama is a necessary investment for any high school. For that matter, it is a necessity for elementary and middle schools.
We’re not only just talking about multi-sensory intelligence, creating presence, understanding audience, and collaboratively producing. We’re talking about expression and allowing students to follow their curiosity.
How can you not see the importance of drama when a musical like Hamilton takes the world by storm and at the same time makes political and social statements? How can you not see the importance of drama when you could literally “binge watch” hundreds of shows that have critical acclaim and never get through all of them in a lifetime? How can you not appreciate the role that drama has in our schools when you realize that the movie you just saw not only moved you emotionally but etched itself into your psyche?
How can you not appreciate the very talents that God has given people if there are not ways for those talents to be found, explored, developed, and nurtured early in life?
And considering what all has happened in the last two years here in our country and in our world, many of us will look to the stage of a theater or the screen to gain perspective on what has happened on the stage of life.
The Greeks looked to their playwrights for guidance and angles. The Elizabethans loved their theater.
So do we.
Support high school drama efforts. They have been supporting you for years.