CRLS Adds Play Creation Class


Diego Lasarte

Last year’s festival production was “Angels in America,” not an original CRLS play.

Ella Russell, Contributing Writer

The CRLS community can look forward to an original play written, produced, and performed by the students of HN Play Creation.

This newly offered class is taught in the fall semester by Mr. Cramp. In addition to performing at school, the students will compete in a series of high school drama festivals that attract high school teams from all over the state. CRLS has participated in these festivals before, but without the benefit of a regular class. They performed pre-existing plays and practiced after school.

Play Creation requires greater commitment than other drama classes. Mr. Cramp is planning for the students to create a 40-minute play entirely from scratch. In order to have a finished product by the end of the course, students will spend extra time after school to work on the play, especially during winter as the play gets closer to completion. “It’s a significant after school experience,” remarked Mr. Cramp, “and not all kids can do that.”

According to Mr. Cramp, the class ‘really has to be an ego-less experience [and it is] something that asks a lot of you as a creative person.’”

It takes a special student to be admitted into Mr. Cramp’s class. Getting into the class is not solely based on experience or acting prowess. Mr. Cramp accepts students based on their energy, enthusiasm, and ability to work with others. “It definitely felt like an audition based on your willingness to imagine and … be honest rather than how good you are,” agreed Tamaryn Watzman ‘19. The auditions had two components; one was to prepare a one minute monologue, and the other was group improvisation. Cooper Kelley ‘18, a performer in drama festivals in the past, found this audition to be “different than other auditions [he has] been in.” According to Mr. Cramp, the class “really has to be an ego-less experience [and it is] something that asks a lot of you as a creative person.”

To help generate ideas for the final play, Mr. Cramp starts off the course with a broad theme to base the play around. Students engage in theater exercises and create short theater pieces. One exercise had the students sit in a circle and pass around a scarf. Each person interacted with the scarf as if it were anything but a scarf. For example, one student pretended the scarf was a cobra.

Mr. Cramp encourages students to write down ideas and observations that they find interesting, whether inside or outside of the class, to possibly use as inspiration for future stories. As the semester goes on, the best ideas will become consolidated into the final play.

The fall semester has just begun, but students are already praising the open, friendly atmosphere of the class. A main theme of the class is building mutual trust and cooperation. “We have a great group of people” said Lily Grob ’18. Mecha Sapuppo ‘18 agreed, adding, “It’s so much fun so far. … [There is] a good vibe.” That isn’t to say there there won’t be challenges, with seventeen people working closely together for several months.

“I think it will be rough,” remarked Grob. “But I think this is a group of people that will keep it together. And in the end, … we will create something really unique and true to us.”

This piece also appears in our September print edition.