By Brittany Sandbergen
Nathan Bishop AfterZone Site Coordinator
For the past ten weeks, the Nathan Bishop drama club in the AfterZone has worked extremely hard to overcome stage fright and memorized lines. Not only did they overcome these challenges, they really RALLIED as the first ever AfterZone theater troupe! Throughout their four show run, they wowed fellow Nathan Bishop middle school students and their families with a dazzling and professional performance of The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Glenn Zenowicz, the Performing Arts teacher at Nathan Bishop, was a first time AfterZone program provider, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him involved! He’s no stranger to the theater world and has been involved in numerous theatrical perfomances all over the state of RI for the past twelve years.
He recognized the need for students to become more aware of their artistic ability and to build self-confidence and designed a Theater Troupe program to encourage them. When Glenn approached the AfterZone with his great idea, we immiadtely got on board.
In order to make this performance a success, Glenn collaborated with many different groups, from the Nathan Bishop Art Department, who designed and painted all of the scenery and the murals and banners hanging throughout the auditorium, to parents, who ensured ticket sales, concessions, photography, set design, and constumes.
Two key players, parents Candace French and Laura Mernoff, were responsible for designing the whole look of the play. Candace generously offered to design and sew the entire troupe’s costumes, while Laura built the set from the ground up. These two moms are a HUGE part of why we had such a breathtaking atmosphere for the actors and the audience.
The troupe consisted mostly of 6th graders who were new to Nathan Bishop. Many of them had never acted before, but were very excited for the opportunity. It was a tough ten weeks, with actors battling stage fright, homework, daily rehearsals, and memorizing all of their lines. They successfully embodied characters ranging from the Emperor himself (played by Jake Bromberg), to Gengo the Samurai (played by Lucian French), and Minamoto (played by Minna Hammarstrom). The Guardian of the Stage was played by Caroline Gracio.
These students worked EXTREMELY hard and really pushed their boundaries to become more self-confident. Many of these budding actors discovered a new passion in the theater and have signed up for a second session with Glenn to continue the legacy of the Nathan Bishop AfterZone Drama Troupe.
Stay tuned for the spring performance!
All photos of the dress rehearsal taken by Cheryl Adams-Johnson. Want to see more photos? Check out PASA’s Facebook page!