Everyone knows about the magic that happens on the Nechita stage when the house lights go down and the curtain rises. But seeing backstage into the inner workings of Drama 3 – a class that prepares and equips students to thrive while on that stage – was an eye opening experience.
Ms. Everhart toes the line between coach and teacher, wearing multiple hats as both a director of shows in the Nechita Center and a classroom teacher of four different classes: Drama 1, 2, 3, and Musical Theater (new to the school this year). Students in her Drama 3 course are juniors and seniors who have successfully completed the first two foundational drama courses and are eager for an additional challenge. Their faces are familiar to many, as they are the ones frequently seen on stage in plays and musicals, and a deep love of honing their craft is present in her room. Ms. Everhart works closely one on one with her students, helping them to break through barriers and become more confident in their acting abilities.
This week, they are working on monologues, perhaps the most challenging aspect of an actor’s career; they have to speak passionately and evoke an emotional response from the audience while speaking essentially to a wall. Ms. Everhart called student up to the front of the room to give their monologue to the class, and was able to offer immediate, targeted, and specific constructive criticism ranging from body posture tips to voice inflection. Seeing a master teacher like her at work was like watching a coach giving the nuanced suggestions that enables a player to rise to the championship level.
The next period, they had a chance to work on their monologues with a partner, switching off between giving the monologue and being the listener who could offer advice. Ms. Everhart had a series of specific tasks for them to be working on with their buddy, and it was clear from the intensity in the room that every student was highly motivated to improve their monologue before their had to give it to the class at large again.
Drama 3 seems to be one of the more “practical” classes on campus: the talent of speaking clearly and with confidence are the exact skills students will need to matter what future career path they choose. Look out for these fine actors actors on the Nechita Stage this coming spring during the musical Smile.