Do you remember when you first fell in love with theater? If you're reading this, chances are the theater has touched your life in some way. We feel lucky to see its power for building community every week at our open workshops and in the work we do in schools.
For many of the schools we donate programs to, like Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics (MCSM), a public high school in East Harlem, we are the only drama program available at the school. We asked Shinelle Black, a 9th grader at MCSM, to tell us what theater and drama mean to her. Here are her words.
The word 'drama' by definition is the art of theater, but to me drama is a mirror of my humanity. A depiction of all the aspects of our real realities and the fictional worlds our imaginations create. Over the course of my life I have spent more than four years taking drama classes and portraying characters. Through these characters I have learned more about myself and the person I wish to become.
I have learned the importance of team work, and gained experience in collaborating with others to achieve a common goal. In the spring of 2012, my middle school put on a main stage production of "The Diary of Ann Frank." Despite the fact that I did not have a role on stage, I helped organize the sets and props. In doing that, you realize how important every aspect of creating the art is and, henceforth, the necessary role of each individual. Opportunities like this promote team spirit which is a great element to the work environment in the future.
Through drama you learn how the smallest things can make a real impact on others. For example, you learn how important text is. How your words could alter the whole mood of the world and could forever change someone for better or worse. You learn how color could change the feelings you get, you gain a real appreciation for the art in the world. Drama teaches you how to pay attention to the smallest details, and how one sound or sight, maybe even smell, could set off a chain of reactions.
Drama's an important part of my life. Having people to share that passion with makes you know that you will always have a sense of community and comradery. Since moving to New York, I have had some hard days and I know having something to look forward to every week makes it better. Every student deserves to have access to the same sense of family as I do.