Summer Play at Vestar
By Lyndal Low
Each summer, one of the first questions I am asked by returning members is “What play are we doing this year?” This year at Vestar over 40 members participated in a 10 week drama program which culminated in a performance of Charlotte’s Web. This was the fifth summer that Vestar has implemented the TNT Drama Matters program, and for many members it is the highlight of the summer. “The play is something that I can look forward to doing during the summer,” says Sienna V., who has had roles in four of the summer plays.
This year performing arts instructor, Courtney Bentz led cast members through the script and regularly implemented improve exercises and drama games to keep the program fun and exciting for the cast. “The drama games were my favorite,” said Chineza G., age 8. This was Chineza’s first year participating in the play and she was elated to have the role of a spider. “I liked that I was the first spider,” she said. Participation in the play adds a sense of belonging and responsibility for the actors who must keep each other accountable and attend at least eight weeks of rehearsals in order to put on a successful show.
Members who preferred to stay off stage but still wanted to be part of the play experience took part in stage crew class, designing and painting back drops and building essential props. Many teens also played vital roles in the drama program. Some helped to create costumes, others made the playbill for the show, and others were make-up artists for the performance. A few teens who had performing arts experience helped with daily rehearsals and received producer credits.
The day of the play both cast and crew were elated with anticipation. “This is the best day of my life,” said Sierra U, who played the part of Homer Arabel. Charlotte’s Web was performed in the auditorium of a neighborhood school. Over 80 friends, family, and staff attended the performance.