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Changes and Challenges: Middle School 'Voices' Onstage
“Okay, let’s be honest. We’re in middle school, so we’re not adults and we’re not little kids either. By term, we’re somewhere in between. That can be annoying.”
“I’m in no hurry to grow up. Seeing adults all stressed out is no big temptation to join your team. I’m fine to skateboard around…play video games, hang out with friends, and stay out of trouble.”
“At the same time, it is not like we kids don’t see that things nowadays are a bit messed up. World hunger and war, our economy, nobody having jobs, I have no idea how to figure out answers to all that stuff. That’s what you adults get paid to do. I mean, I’m twelve, it’s not like I’m going to head some committee to solve the world’s problems.”
-From “Voices in the Middle,” Mount Madonna School’s original musical revue.
Theater directors working with young adolescents face some quandary in finding material relatable to their students in theme and content. Most plays, with the exception of a few, feature characters much older, so there is a leap in terms of life experience for a middle school-aged performer to play an adult,” comments, Sampad Martin Kachuck, Mount Madonna School’s longtime performing arts director. At one level, acting enables performers to “walk in the shoes” of characters very different than themselves, not only in mindset and personality, priorities and conflicts, family upbringing and relationships, but also in terms of time period and age.
This year, Mount Madonna School’s performing arts team sought material closer in experience and age to its performers, and decided to create an original musical revue. The resulting production, “Voices in the Middle” will premier for matinee performances on January 28 and 29.
Show directors began the creative process by examining some of the issues that compel and confront their students in school and life. The themes in “Voices” examine challenges of growing up, relationships with family, friends, school, and peers, to quickly changing identities, bodies, appearances, and priorities.
“Although adolescence is judged as a time of awkward turmoil, the beauty of youth is the capacity to dream and hope, to be idealistic and adaptable,” comments Kachuck. “Young people have an uncanny ability to change their definition of self literally minute to minute, emotionally inhabiting each moment without thought of the next one until it happens. We wanted this within our revue as well.”
“Voices” incorporates a recognizable mixture of contemporary music and classic Broadway show tunes, written pieces generated by students and directors, and monologues from existing works. Vibrant dance compositions are also included.
Showtimes are 2:00pm on January 28 and 29. Tickets are on sale now and all seats are reserved. To purchase tickets call (408) 847-2717. Adults are $15 and students under 18 are $10. “Voices” will be performed at the School’s Hawks’ Nest Theater at 445 Summit Road, Mount Madonna.
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Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.