Sold-out shows, live audiences, costumes, props, and sets—that can only mean one thing: theater is very much alive and well in the Middle School! After the annual seventh and eighth-grade play was heavily impacted and modified due to pandemic restrictions that came about since the last big show in May of 2019, no one took last weekend’s in-person shows for granted.
“Due to the pandemic, we did not have a stage production last year, and these students haven’t really even had a regular drama class for the past two years,” said Tim Storey, Middle School Drama Teacher and Co-Director of the Play. “Despite these circumstances, they were able to rise to the occasion, learn some performance skills very quickly, and put on a production that was thoroughly enjoyed by the audiences. We are very proud of them.”
With a more typical play experience possible, our seventh and eighth graders were excited to perform and crew Story Theatre by Paul Sills from March 4 to March 7—and the enthusiasm was palpable! Story Theatre reimagines the famous tales from the brothers Grimm, using well-known and beloved characters such as Henny Penny, the Golden Goose, and Venus the Cat.
“We played to a sold-out audience for three performances and the cast and crew did very well,” shared Charlotte Dougherty, Middle School Drama Teacher and Co-Director of the Play. “We picked Story Theatre because it is presentational theatre and gives the students the opportunity to learn a new style of acting where they can create big characters. We were also able to split the cast into three groups for the rehearsal process so we could work within COVID-19 mitigations and keep everyone safe.”
In presentational theater, “characters consistently talk directly to the audience and use their bodies and voices in big, dramatic ways to help tell the story,” said Mr. Storey. “Backing them up, we had a ‘band’ that used everything from real instruments to blocks of wood banged together to enhance the story with fanciful sounds.”
Students had a lot to say about their resumed play experiences:
“The play has been one of my favorite experiences at MICDS,” said Audrey Marino ’26. “I was in two of the separate plays. In one, I was a man digging up nuts buried under his mother’s head, and the other, a princess. I loved working with Ms. Dougherty and Mr. Storey. They were great leaders and had so much to give to this play. My favorite moment was coming off stage on opening night. We had done so well and I was so proud. We had worked so hard, and in that moment it paid off. Through this experience, I learned many things like how to be a team with your cast and how to take criticism. One of the most important things I learned was how to make the best out of it. I walked in disappointed because I did not have that many lines, but over time, I learned it was not my lines that mattered. It was the effort I put into it. Overall the 7th and 8th-grade play was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful I got to be a part of it.”
Maahi Saini ’27 said, “The experience of the play was so memorable and fun. Each and every person had an amazing role and did it so well, it was so inspiring! Ms. Dougherty and Mr. Storey made the whole experience fun, and the cast and crew always had each other’s backs. I made so
many memories that I will never forget. I was the little sister in the last play, and on Monday I had to sub for the crow in Two Crows. I love acting, and I recommend trying out next year!”
“My role was the fisherman, said Axel Jones ’26. “The story was about me and my over-controlling wife. She made me go to a magical fish to grant her wishes. Everyone in the play was very sweet and everyone was included and given care from the directors. It was truly a humbling experience to see a group of people come together.”
The funding for this production dates back to the Mary Institute Class of 1954 which established an endowed fund for the theater. The fund is used every year to pay for the rights to perform the play.
For the play program, click here.
Way to once again break a leg, Middle School actors, actresses, and crew members!