A Curious Incident takes the stage

Emily Yuan, Editor

As we approach the end of the fall term, Kent students look forward to the fall term plays prepared by artists who chose drama as their afternoon activity. Having taught English at Kent for 16 years, Mr. Foote runs the drama activity with Mr. Stewart, each in charge of one play. This fall, Mr. Foote directed the Underform Play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. 

Depending on the number and interest of students, Mr. Foote includes a variety of plays from different time periods. He strives to run an activity in which kids can sign up freshman year and have lots of face-time on stage. Having been the summer reading assignment for freshman students for many years, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was chosen this fall because students spend more time discussing it during the year than the past. In particular, this play has lots of small roles and emphasizes the level of tech, such as light, sound, projections, and props. 

Although students have read the book, Mr. Foote encourages the production of a play because it presents how the director and characters interpret words on a page. Furthermore, drama is a reflection of society and inspires us to think about how we live our lives. “The scenes between Christopher and his parents are sad but powerful,” according to Mr. Foote. “The play is meant to emphasize how difficult the situation is, yet love prevails.” 

In the beginning of the season, Mr. Foote assigns roles based on auditions, aiming to give each student at least one of their top choices. He creates a schedule of the scenes they’ll rehearse each day, and only students whose lines are practiced need to be present. Each afternoon, Mr. Foote builds in time for students to memorize their lines. Towards the end of the term, drama has tech week in which students devote more time to the show to fine tune the details before the production. Practice ranges from 2.5 to 4 hours, lasting from 6-10 PM in past years. 

Mr. Foote has noticed that students who’re described to be shy by parents and other teachers are very active on stage. “People feel free in drama because this isn’t them, so they’re more of their outgoing self, not concerned over what others think of them.” Kids blossom in the activity, and it rolls over into class participation where kids find their voices. Mr. Foote looks forward to a Shakespeare play next year, which will be a joint production of the underformers and upperformers.