Peshtigo High School Students Write Own Plays

During the first week of September, Peshtigo High School actors, sound and light people, and set design crew members all met to discover that they would not be acting out a play written by someone else this year.

Peshtigo teacher and drama club director Andrea Rosenow decided to change things up this year by challenging her students to write their own play. “Students are able to write their own stories and by extension, their own experiences, opinions and feelings. This year I really wanted to create something students have more ownership over,” explains Rosenow. “I have been seeing most of the kids diving into this new experience with open minds. It’s a unique and experimental theater experience, but they have been facing it head on.”

Students have been meeting 2-3 times a week since the second week of school to develop group cohesiveness and create a collaborative climate for constructing the storyline and script as a group.

Student Sarah Beavers reveals, “When the process first started, I was nervous. This was something I’d never seen done before and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out.” 

Student Sophi Hornick adds, “Mrs. Rosenow’s activities are very fun, they help us make natural dialogue for our scenes. One of my favorite activities is improv. It’s good for bonding as a group, as well as helping us with our acting skills.” Beavers affirms, “Our drama meeting activities helped the whole group mesh together and made the writing process of adding or throwing out ideas for the script much easier because we became more comfortable with each other.”

Some students worked solo to create monologues while others worked in small groups to create group scenes, connecting all the concepts together as vignettes with the central theme of Fate. “This play will center around relationships and the idea of fate as something to accept or fight against,” Rosenow elaborates. “You will see a wide range of time periods, settings, and characters all fighting against, or coming to terms with fate. You’ll even see fate personified as a villain!”

“Our play is about two kids whose parents just died separately, in the same time period.” Hornick reveals,

“They receive a strange letter and slowly realize their parents have been murdered.” Beavers elaborates, “I have several separate scenes in the play, one involving a haunted house, a crazy tour guide, and an unlikely group of friends!” Now the script is set, and students are in the process of blocking the movement and planning the set elements, costumes, and the technical details. Student Eva Andrews shares, “I am so excited to see how everyone will embody their characters on stage!”

The play’s name is not determined yet, but the Peshtigo High School drama club is getting close to finalizing the details. “I really appreciate Mrs. Rosenow for giving so much of her time and to help us bring new and fresh ideas to the table.” Beavers conveys, “It’s been a great way to spend my last year in high school theater. She’s helped me discover my passion and is supporting me in applying for performing arts colleges.” Rosenow loves teaching and has really enjoyed seeing her drama students come together as a group. “Watching them figure out their own stage directions, character traits and conflicts, can help them work through their own issues in life.” Hornick affirms, “I’m excited to get on stage and get all of the costumes and props ready, to finally see our hard work come together!”


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