West Branch students tell stories of putting on a play

By Abigail Welch, Age 10

First, I will discuss the challenges of putting on a play. With any play you need to learn your lines, find or make costumes, find sponsors, build a set, coordinate the lights and sound and you need to block all the scenes.

All of the above items are a challenge within themselves. For us and almost any play production, you have only a certain amount of time to learn your lines before you can start working on building your character or anything else.

Some of the rewarding things about being in a play are putting on the production, being able become someone (or something) else, being able to multi-task and being able to manage our practice and school time. Putting on the actual play is very rewarding because West Branch School students get the chance to perform in a professional theater.

Being in a play also can help you grow as a person because you learn responsibility and time management. It also is a great confidence builder because you are performing in front of hundreds of people. We have worked very hard on this play, please come see it at The Community Theater League at 10:30 a.m. March 8, 7:30 p.m. March 9 , or 2 p.m. March 10.

By Ella Linhardt, Age 9

At West Branch School we’re putting on a play. I’m going to explain to you how we practice our lines. We practice them at school as well as at home. At home my sister says the couple lines before mine and then I say my line.

At school we all gather at a certain part of the school and practice the play. When someone is not on stage, they are working on homework, reading or practicing our lines. Let’s say someone didn’t know their line, they would say “Line!” and a teacher would give you a part of the line to help you out; then the person can continue the line.

As we get faster at our lines, the more we can work on building our character. It is really difficult because I have to know my lines in two months. I hope I get to see you there!

By Elliott, age 6

The Upstairs plays are creative to me because I like the characters. That is why, when I become an Upstairs student, I can’t wait to see what character I am. I am looking forward to seeing this year’s play because I can’t wait to see the characters, the set and more.

The Downstairs and my mom come to the dress rehearsal. The Downstairs comes once because they do it as a field trip, and mom and I come twice because we think the Upstairs plays are awesome. I think the Upstairs works hard, and I am looking forward to this year’s play.

By Emily Rose Bertin, Age 9

One of the most difficult things about doing a play is getting all the costumes. The reason why costumes are hard work is because you have to buy some of the costumes, you have to borrow some costumes and you have to make some of the costumes. Some of the costumes were borrowed from the Community Theater League, Montgomery High School, Williamsport High School and Midwest High School.

A lot of the parents helped out with making some of the costumes, like Denise, who helped with most of the sewing, Sandy H. Elion, Erica Lomasson and many more parents helped too.

This is the first play that we didn’t have most of the props or costumes because we never did this type of fantasy play. The plays we have done in the past were mostly Greek mythology or Shakespeare.

Even after all the hard work, everything turned out to be perfect. If you’d like to see us perform and see all the costumes and the set, get some tickets and come see the play!

By Jon Cramer, Age 11

For the play “Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” our set designer, Scott Palmer, makes most of the set pieces and some props.

After that we take everything to the theater and set it up on the stage. This year the set is complicated because the scenes switch many times throughout the play. It goes from England to Narnia, to the Witch’s castle, to the Stone Table, etc. With so many complicated scene changes the set design was very challenging.

The final step of producing a play is adding lights and sounds. When working with the lights, people go on the catwalk and move really heavy lights to be on the right spot that the director wants. In addition to the lights, sounds are chosen to be put in the production.

The directors meet with the sound technicians and go through a list of sounds. They pick the ones they want and organize them in the order that they are needed. After that the play is ready.

By Matti Cramer,

Age 9

One of the challenges for the play is to get sponsors. Our teacher, Erica, along with some parents contact local businesses to see if they could make a donation.

In return for their donation, we put their logo in our playbill. Without the sponsors we would not be able to put on such an elaborate production. We need these donations for the costumes, making props, advertising, and set building.

Parents also are a huge part of putting on the play. They help in every aspect of play productions such as making posters, playbills, costumes and anything else you can think of.

As you can see, there are a lot of things you need to put on a play, but after all the hard work, you have an amazing play.

By Nakota Szymoniak, Age 12

Our cast consists of thirteen students, two teachers, four alums and one friend of the school. Casting the play always is difficult when trying to match personality and skill to the correct character for each student.

Because of the student-to-character ratio, even our teachers are playing multiple adult characters! One of our teachers, Erica, is playing the main antagonist Jadis, the White Witch, and the mean, old housekeeper Mrs. Macready, while our other teacher, Steve, is playing the main protagonist, Aslan the lion, and the professor.

Our alums also play an important role. Besides helping with props and scene changes backstage, near the end of the play, the alums must play the four main characters Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, as adults. Without their help, this scene wouldn’t be possible because with such quick scene changes, we could not transform the four children into adults and then back to children again.

Scott, a friend of the school plays a very important role as well. Besides creating a lot of our props and scenery, as well as designing the set, he plays a character almost everyone likes, Father Christmas.

As you can tell, creating a play is a vigorous task and takes a lot of experienced people to accomplish it.

By Patrick Erikson, Age 10

Blocking is a very important part of a play. Blocking probably is the most important part of a play. Blocking basically is the choreography of the actors on stage.

Also, blocking is where and when the actor or actress has to leave the stage and come on the stage.

Blocking is where you have to stand, when the lights come on or any position you need to be.

One thing I learned is that blocking also is where the props are placed and move during a performance.

Everybody worked hard on this play and the blocking. It is very hard to remember, and a lot of work, but eventually we all learn it. Blocking may be hard, but it is fun too. I hope you come and see the play.

By Rachel Bower,

Age 10

Our play this year is “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” It is based on the classic novel by C.S. Lewis. You may also have seen the movie versions. The play shows the exciting adventures of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.

I will tell you the main story line. Well, there are four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy that are sent to the country when their hometown is being bombed. They are sent to stay with an old professor and his mean housekeeper.

When they go there, Lucy, the youngest, found a magical wardrobe and when she entered it she found the mystical world of Narnia. There she meets a faun named Tumnus. When she finds her way back home, she finds the others.

At first they don’t believe Lucy until Edmund also comes into the world of Narnia and meets the queen, also known as, the evil White Witch, and likes her.

He thinks that she is so nice (she’s not). After that, all the children enter Narnia.

They go to find the faun that Lucy met, but he has been captured by the witch. Now the children want to find him but don’t know what to do. They meet a beaver that leads them to his dam. He and his wife, Mrs. Beaver, tell the children all about Narnia.

They tell them about the lion named Aslan and about the horrible witch. They also discuss the prophecy that the Witch’s reign will end when two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve come to Narnia. Edmund slips out and goes to the Witch’s house.

When he arrives, the evil Fenris Ulf, a wolf and chief of the Witch’s secret police, tells the queen that Edmund had arrived.

The queen was angry because Edmund came without the other children.

The queen sends Fenris Ulf ahead to stop the children from reaching Aslan and the Stone Table and keeps Edmund as a prisoner to lure the others.

Meanwhile, the Beavers and the children meet Aslan at the Stone Table. This is where the story really gets exciting. Fenris Ulf reaches the Stone Table and tries to kill Susan. I bet you really want to know what happens next.

If you want to find out if Susan survives, or if the White Witch is defeated, come to the play yourself.

By Cooper Larson,

Age 9

One of the hardest parts of a play is becoming your character. In this play there are a lot of hard characters such as centaurs, unicorns and dwarves.

I am a dwarf. Becoming my character was easy and hard because my character is just like a kid. Actually, it’s just a shorter person with a lot of hair and a beard. But, a character like a unicorn is trickier. Since it is an animal, it walks and moves differently. Mr. Tumnus, another character in our play, is half man and half goat and walks very weirdly.

He walks upright on his two hind legs and has a very nervous, jittery personality. One of the things that helped me become my character is that before the play even started, all of us got the book and we had to read it over the holiday break.

The book gave good descriptions of the characters. I’ve also seen multiple movies of Narnia.

In the movies, the dwarf kind of waddles and has a big furry coat with a big nose, a tall hat like an elf, and has a squeaky and grouchy voice. All of these things helped us become our characters.

That’s what a dwarf is like and that’s how we become our characters.

By Sage, Age 9

One of the most important things in a play are the props. For example, some of the props are swords, shields and an umbrella.

A lot of the props we already had in our attic from past plays, but some of them we had to construct, borrow, or buy. The props we borrowed were crowns, a lamp-post, costumes, canes and Christmas trees.

The props we had were the stone table, swords and shields. Some of the props we bought were a wand, elf ears, the queen’s tiara and beards. We made props as well such as a scroll and a wardrobe.

I think that everybody should come and see our play “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

By Annika Waffenschmidt, Age 11

The first West Branch Upstairs play was performed in 1980, which was Macbeth.

In the four years I have been in the Upstairs we have done The Odyssey, “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Play,” “By Jove, it’s all Greek to Me,” and this year “The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.”

The West Branch Upstairs normally has done Greek myth plays or plays written by William Shakespeare, but this year we are doing something different.

The Upstairs students have a wonderful opportunity to perform these plays at West Branch. The Upstairs teachers choose these challenging plays, because they know the students can rise up to the challenge.

In the end I can say the West Branch Upstairs will carry on the tradition of doing the plays for quite a while.

By Cassidy Strosser, Age 10

In West Branch School plays we have lots of fun on stage, but we also have fun off stage like in the Green Room and backstage.

In the Green Room (it is painted green), below the stage, we get ready to do the play with warm ups with Sandy (A former W.B.S. teacher). She helps us with our costumes and gives us things to do like riddles and drawings.

When we are performing we stay in the Green Room. When we see and hear our cue (on a television that shows the stage) to come up from the Green Room, we go backstage, grab the props we need, and get in character.

When your scene is over, if you do not have a lot of time until your next scene, you stay backstage in one of the corners or move through the tunnels to another corner, get your props for the next scene and complete any costume changes. If you ever need help there are parents backstage to help you.

In between performances or during down time, we play improvisation games with teachers, sometimes parents, and Sandy.

I hope you can come to our play “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” If you do, I know you will love it!