So much is happening at our local schools, both during classes, and before/after … Earlier this month, we were invited to cover the culmination of a month of work by 9th-grade classes at Chief Sealth International High School, with teaching artists from Book-It Repertory Theatre. As explained here, the program is a “synthesis of literature and theater.” And indeed, that’s what we saw inside the Sealth auditorium – poetry, not presented by a reader standing static in front of a microphone, but performed, in small ensembles, with movement, sometimes matched to the words, sometimes just adding emphasis or flair.
The students were from the freshman classes of Luke Azinger and Heather Griffin. The teaching artists from Book-It, who introduced themselves to the audience before the program, were Kelly Kitchens and Samara Lerman. As explained in the program for the performance:
This semester, Ms. Griffin worked with students to write original poetry. After the writing process, Book-It worked with Mr. Azinger’s classes to analyze and adapt student and professional poems into scripts for the stage in the Book-It Style. Then, the students collaborated to create live plays out of the poems – taking them from page to stage.
With small ensembles trading places while two students drummed interstitially, 23 poems were performed. We recorded them on video from mid-auditorium; all were excellent, but our audio had its shortcomings, so we are featuring the 11 that are clearest in our recordings. We were asked not to publish the authors and performers’ names, but we do have the poems’ titles.
“Once a Friend, Now an Acquaintance”:
Speaking of the passage of time – as did that last poem – this is the 17th year of collaboration between CSIHS and Book-It. Congratulations to the writers, performers, teachers, and teaching artists – and to the students’ families, many of whom were there that night to cheer them on. (The program also was performed earlier in the day during school hours, so other students could see it.)