The Species Known as Drama Kids
Memorizing lines, remembering stage directions, constant criticism, “frying eggs,” and more drama than TNT: this is the Drama club.
Little to nothing is known about this strange and often misunderstood group of high school students. They are extremely eclectic and come from a variety of backgrounds, yet they all come together for clandestine meetings, referred to as “rehearsals,” so that they can effectively convince the masses that they are someone entirely different from themselves and perform a show. According to Director Jen Harlan, “Drama Club kids are honestly the most crazy, wild people ever. We’re usually very energetic at practice, and we run around and talk loudly and make crazy jokes.” Just who are these people?
While trying to find out what exactly goes on at these rehearsals, I ran into a brick
wall (both literally and metaphorically, it’s hard to see back stage). Only the select few that are in the Drama club are privy to this information. However, one “Norman Smoot,” was willing to reveal the following: “There are some things that only Drama students should know. However, I can tell you a few things we do (and don’t do). We don’t miss a line after “Off-Book Day”, and we enjoy playing the game “frying an egg”. (Something tells me this is some sort of secret code.)
The Drama Club is almost entirely student led, and the director is Jen Harlan, who, according to Anthony Gavalas, makes rehearsals “hilarious (by) yelling stage directions while we are working on ‘blocking,’ (and) shouting one-word commands; for example: EMBRACE!” (I knew it; they do have some sort of secret language!)
Jen Harlan has quite the difficult job controlling these “crazy and wild” people. “I control the Drama Club through simple respect,” says Jen, “The members of the club are my friends and we generally care and respect each other. Though I have to yell at them sometimes, most of the time to get them to stop talking, they know that I’m usually not really mad at them when I yell, that I just really want them to shut up.” (Note to self: if ever confronted with an angry Drama Club person, yell at them, they like it.)
Possibly the strangest thing about this species of high school students is their traditions. They thoroughly believe the superstitions surrounding the name Macbeth being spoken on stage as well as not saying “good luck,” because both of those things are very bad luck. Also, there is apparently a piece of gum in the Props room that, if not hit by any member when leaving the room, spells out bad luck. However, one of the brighter traditions that Jen has started is that before opening night she goes around and compliments all of the cast members since they have to undergo a plethora of criticisms beforehand.
What makes Drama club difficult? Other than memorizing an entire script, numerous practice sessions, remembering stage directions that Jen may decide to change at any time, these students must also perform in front of a huge group of peers and parents, as well as get along with students from numerous other social groups. However, one of the most difficult tasks is “blocking,” which according to Jazzmyne Foresman, “is where we set the stage for where everyone is going to go and how etc. The blocking itself is not difficult, but rather just tedious. It’s extremely hard to just sit there and wait patiently while Jen and Erica change their minds a hundred million times.”
How could one describe the Drama Club? All the members that were asked said that even they have difficulty labeling the club; is it a cult, a gang, or some sort of secret organization plotting to rule the world? (If it’s the last one, then TYJ has some competition.) However, Jazzmyne commented, saying that “the Drama Club is basically a family, a weird, dysfunctional family maybe, but nonetheless a family.” Another new member, Rebecca Phifer, agreed saying that “Yes the Drama club could be described as a family, definitely, albeit very dysfunctional.”
There you have it. Much of what the Drama club does is a close guarded secret, but anyone and everyone is encouraged to come and see the end result: the play. After putting up with criticisms, attending numerous practices, undergoing plenty of intense mental stress and egg frying, the play is where it all pays off. They must do something that only a few people in the world can do and an even fewer number can do well: act. The Drama club must utilize all of their talent to convince the audience that they are the character that they claim to be and must entertain the audience. All of their time and effort boils down to two or three performances, two or three chances to make it all worth while. Drama Club: We Know Drama.
*Pictures courtesy of Maura Jackson*