By Angelica Gutierrez
On February 28th, a large group of students led by Ms. Taylor closed out our Black History month with a bang—our school´s performance received a great reception from students, administrators, and teachers in the audience. But what went into the creative process of such theatrical work? This reporter is able to give a behind-the-scenes, stage director´s perspective on BA’s show – Becoming: From Slavery to Slaying.
A Typical Day of Rehearsals: When one first opens the door to rehearsals, the first thing that greets the senses is absolute chaos. There’s a collection of student dancers on the stage whose feet patter loudly against the wooden floor. The song which accompanies their choreography comes from another student´s phone, who is just now receiving about 8 phone calls from a concerned father. Sometimes the laptop that contained the PowerPoint central to the work would run out of battery and students would be left to recite monologues with a bright blue error screen as their backdrop instead of an inspiring picture of Angela Davis. One question on everyone´s mind: Where are the hosts of our show?
If you know anything about theater, it’s unsurprising that such madness would be associated with the resulting theatrical work. But at the time, we couldn’t help doubting -however erroneously – whether this show would go on. There were lots of things that went wrong during the recitals. Many students who were supposed to perform were replaced an hour or so before the actual performance. Fortunately, both the students and teachers involved had a certain tenacity and panache that enabled them to bounce back from even the worst dregs of rehearsal, something which culminated in a wonderful performance in the end. All without any major hiccups!
The result was a seamless, musical inquiry into the complex history of African-Americans. We would all do well to recognize the incredible amount of work that was not only put in by everyone – especially Ms. Taylor and Ms. Zapata. Ms. Taylor ought to be highly commended for her astonishing patience. It was the glue which held all the performances together. Her playwright abilities have gifted the school with a very memorable play for the audience. In other words, she slayed.
But would this reporter ever go through the stress of being stage director again? Not any time soon! Ms. Taylor and Ms. Zapata might share the sentiment.