ArtsMar 25, 2020

Hallmark Theater Intensive

“The greatest adventure of theater happens when you walk into an empty space with students and using only your imagination, start creating something magical” explains MHS Director of Theater and Dance Jen Jordan. “That’s what theater is, and being part of that process can be really powerful”

Hallmark Theater Intensive is a class in which students will live first-hand the full process that goes into creating a performance — from lighting and stage management to acting and design, to production and marketing. The first half of the year, students will collaborate to produce a one-act play of their choice. They will perform this production at the one-act play competition of ThesFest, a regional theater festival held each February in Acton-Boxborough, MA. The second half of the year, students will use the tools they recently developed in their work together to create their own original play or performance piece.

“It’s going to be fun, but intense, an in-depth immersion in the creative process,” Ms. Jordan explains. “What I hope students take away from the experience is a sense of all that goes into bringing a piece of theater to life — the joys and challenges of collaborating on a theatrical endeavor. It will strengthen their leadership skills as they confront the choices and challenges of group creation, expand their range of knowledge in the many areas of the production process, and perhaps excite them about aspects they hadn’t thought about or explored before.”

Each of the past two years, Ms. Jordan has taken MHS Theater students to ThesFest, a regional theater festival. At last year’s festival she saw a one-act play created in a style similar to the MHS fall Theater Ensemble production, Decision Height.

“I was especially blown away by it because it was a student-led experience,” Ms. Jordan notes. “I’ve been wanting to offer a Hallmark class in theater with a defining capstone project. Bringing their own production to the ThesFest competition would give the students an opportunity to present their work and share their process and experiences with peers from across the state.

“In the second semester, as they develop an original work, students will have the opportunity to explore different roles, whether it is the student who enjoys acting but instead tries her hand at directing, or the student who prefers being behind the scenes opting for a role on stage. Along the way, each of the Core Competencies of the MHS Graduate — vision, voice, interpersonal efficacy, and gumption — will be put to use as the students explore and develop their creative talents. The arts, and theater in particular, provide fertile ground for each of these qualities to flourish.”