The Drama Family: A place to Call Home Through the Strange and Wonderful High School Years

According to the American Alliance for Theater and Education, “Numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between drama involvement and academic achievement. In addition to having higher standardized test scores than their peers who do not experience the arts, student who participate in drama often experience improved reading comprehension, maintain better attendance records, and stay generally more engaged in school than their non-arts counterparts. Schools with arts-integrated programs, even in low-income areas, report high academic achievement.”

High school can be a difficult time for many teens. Between capricious friendships, hectic families, and the beginning of an endeavor to discover life objectives. Every student needs a space to feel comfortable in their own skin in order to succeed in their high school experience.

Students across the country believe that they have found assuagement in their theaters. Gino Caputo, a senior at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, Virginia says, “my personal philosophy in truth to my infatuation with acting comes from my constant search for freedom. I’ve always wanted to be free of myself and the world that society has tried to push me in. When I act, I act because I can be whatever I want. No one can tell me what to be. I can be a dragon, I can be a nurse, I can be me if I so please. Theatre offers a safe space for people because they can escape the chains of pressure and stress that have been shackled to their legs and arms for all their lives.” Gino truly believes he has a safe space in theater, and the students of Thornton Academy agree and also believe they have found a truly special group and home.

As the curtains open on The Addams Family presented by the TA Players, many students begin to reflect on their experiences in theater departments across the country. Zack LaChance, a senior plays Gomez Addams, the fiery, possibly Spanish father of Wednesday and Pugsley. Gomez finds himself in a sticky situation of keeping a secret from his wife, Morticia for his one and only daughter, or keeping the vow he took on his wedding day. Zack claims he feels a similar air of conflict in his everyday life but, “theater feels safer to me because everyone in it enjoys the same things I do and even though we bicker a lot we always end up being there for each other when it counts.” Just like the Addams family and any other family, there is conflict in the TA Players, but never does that mean it falls apart.

Katie Spagnolo a senior of the core ensemble plays a suffragette, a ghost of one that is. In this story the ancestors of the Addams family have been called upon by to help Wednesday keep her secret, or not. “When you’re on stage performing, you are pretending to be a completely different person. It’s an escape from reality. At least for a short while, you can forget about what’s going on in your life and through all your love into your art form. That’s one thing that makes theater so much more than a source of entertainment.”

Delaney Ziegman, a sophomore in the tech crew for this show said, “it offers and escape from reality, and provides the home that I don’t get from my house. There certainly is a difference between a house and a home and sometimes friends are the best family you can find.” Delaney has lived across the country and has been involved in many theater companies in her travels and has experienced this feeling in many other places.

The Addams Family is a story of inclusion, and a reminder never to judge a book by its cover. In this version of the story, you get to see not only the Addams, but also the Beinekes. This family seems quite “normal” on the outside, but as the story progresses you realize, this is not the case. Everyone has something inside most others can’t see. This is what this musical tries to remind its audience. As Morticia says, “Normal is an illusion. What’s normal for the spider is calamity for the fly.”

Theater is far more than just a stage to most actors. It gives its members a place they can always turn. Even after endless long rehearsals inside, many find an empty auditorium more comforting than their own bed. The peace that can wash over a person standing in front of a sea of lights and dark seats can be a better medicine than anything a doctor can give; the fourth wall is more comforting than anything Donald Trump could ever build. A theater company is a group of irreplaceable people, experiences, and memories in your life. You can form the most powerful devotion to your fellow actors, tech crew, and even the characters you’re portraying.

TA Players performance of the Addams Family will be performed April 6, 7, 8, 9 with two shows on Saturday the 8th. Thursday Friday Saturday at 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. All seats ten dollars.
Tickets through the TA box office online at:
http://www.thorntonacademy.org/page.cfm?p=520

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