Play brings history to lifeTake a trip through history next week with a cast of characters ranging from Marie Antoinette to Elvis. The Cooper Elementary School drama group presents “Our Story of History,” an original play by Title I teacher Dustin Anderson, on the Superior High School Performing Arts Center stage.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Take a trip through history next week with a cast of characters ranging from Marie Antoinette to Elvis. The Cooper Elementary School drama group presents “Our Story of History,” an original play by Title I teacher Dustin Anderson, on the Superior High School Performing Arts Center stage. For three nights only, audiences can drop by to get a history refresher course.
Some characters are complete fiction, such as Rosie the Riveter, played by fourth grader Brooklyn Paine. She somersaults onto the stage to urge a pair of students to work and take a stand for equality.
“Just because it happened many years ago doesn’t mean it’s not important today,” she tells them before bouncing off stage.
Most, including Annie Oakley, Winston Churchill and Napoleon, are real. Some even spout lines taken from famous speeches. Their aim in the play is to show two students, played by fifth grader Kaitlyn Kratsch and sixth grader Jaylynn Glaus, how interesting and relevant history can be.
Is there a link between the Salem witch trials and Ruth Wakefield, the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie? Was Amelia Earhart just playing hide-and-seek when she disappeared? What is history - a retelling of events people agree on, the gravel that paves the road to the future, or something else?
“It’s important for us to learn about history,” Anderson said, and its impact on our lives today. He wrote the play based on student interest. They wanted to tackle some historical figures this year. The characters were interesting to learn about, they said, especially Rosie the Riveter.
This is the third year the drama club has given public performances. The club teaches students concentration, memorization, stage presence and vocal projection skills. Students give up their lunch and recess time twice a week to practice the play.
“I like performing a lot and I’ve made a bunch of new friends,” Kaitlyn said. “Now I know a lot of third graders, fourth graders.”
Audiences will enjoy the production, the kids said.
“I like that it’s very, very entertaining and very energetic,” said fourth grader Kaden Radich, who brings his own interpretation to two very different characters, the British Churchill and animated musician Vanilla Ice.
Brooklyn, too, gets to play opposites. Along with Rosie the Riveter, she portrays a mellow 1950s housewife.
“I like challenges,” she said, and she still gets a laugh out of every practice.
Students appreciated having the drama group, which Anderson launched in 2011.
“I’m glad he started it,” Kaitlyn said. “He’s been such a positive impact on our lives.”
Performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night at the SHS PAC, 2600 Catlin Ave. The performances are free, but donations are accepted.