March 8, 2022
The Fair Grove theater department wrote and produced Snow White and The Seven Suspects, a production for 5th-6th grade, alongside Everland, the 7th-8th grade production, on February 18th and 19th.
These productions were written and produced by Fair Grove High School students Natalie Nolan (11), Nico Jenkins (10), Kris Hunter (11), Cooper Zumwalt (11), Alex Bates (12), Stephanie Dunham (10), and many more. Zumwalt said, “Writing the script was overall a very easy process. Alex Bates and I wrote the whole thing in just a few hours total and were extremely pleased with the result. It was really rewarding to see our ideas come to life onstage as they worked out just as we intended them to!”
“Our early rehearsals consisted of the directors setting the blocking, or movement, of the production and providing guidance and clarification as to what the script says. From then on, it is mostly run-throughs with occasional days to sort out costuming and to work out any kinks by placing students in a small group,” informed Zumwalt.
Having a practice can be crazy with such young kids; Lucas Engel (9) shared having a routine helps a lot, “Our daily routine was when everyone got to the stage the 8th graders started warmups and the directors set the stage for the first scene. Then we would give some announcements and the daily plan and start practice. Practices were run by Natalie Nolan, who is our main director, Kris Hunter, who is our secondary director, and myself. As practices go on, we stand on or in front of the curtains and let them take care of it and act. We give them advice as they need it or if we want something to go a certain way.”
Directing an entire play can be difficult, and these students put on two. There were many problems they faced during this process. “A major challenge that we faced during the production was the sheer amount of snow days. We lost around seven or eight rehearsals, including our final dress rehearsal, so that was definitely an obstacle that we faced. We managed this issue by staying in communication with our casts and making sure they had everything they needed at home so that they could come in the next day and be prepared,” shared Zumwalt.
The play was created with a positive mindset. Cooper said, “My main strategy for creating this play and making it a success was making sure that we were having a good time. We had so many new kids involved in our program this year, and our goal was to make a welcoming environment for them in which everyone is welcome and has a good time. I’d say we did a pretty good job! The thing that keeps me motivated is my group of kids. I’ve gotten to watch certain things about acting click in their heads while I’m directing, and seeing them all develop a passion for theater is motivation enough.”