“You cannot do theater alone,” Alyssa Guida told her Creative Dramatics students at Falmouth High School Wednesday, September 11, as part of a lesson about the hierarchy of theater professionals and the ways they interact to create a successful production.
The high school hired Ms. Guida, a native of Tewksbury who recently moved to Falmouth, to build the school’s theater program.
“I am thrilled that FHS has a new theater program, and I have no doubt that, with Ms. Guida at the helm, FHS students will receive a high-quality and enjoyable theater education,” Principal Mary W. Gans said. “I am a firm believer in fine arts education, and being able to expand our existing fine arts course offerings with performing arts courses is a wonderful opportunity. In addition, the greater Falmouth theater community has been incredibly supportive, which will certainly help us build a healthy and sustainable theater program at FHS. I am extremely appreciative of their expertise and support, and look forward to developing a strong partnership with them.”
Ms. Guida, a University of New Hampshire graduate who studied musical theater and secondary education before working in the Lexington school district, teaches Creative Dramatics, which focuses on the skills of playwriting and directing; Introduction to Theater, which runs both during the school day and after school; Theater Production; and Theater Outreach.
Also this year, she will organize and direct an all-school play in the fall and an all-school musical in the spring. Students can audition, regardless of whether they are enrolled in theater program courses.
Mr. Guida plans to participate in the Massachusetts Theatre Celebration, sponsored by the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild—a one-day, noncompetitive opportunity for students to share work, receive feedback and forge connections with students in other schools. She will also aim to have students compete in the Massachusetts High School Drama Festival.
As part of her lesson Wednesday, Ms. Guida walked her 15 students in grades 10 through 12 through the roles of producer, business manager, artistic director, director, stage manager, musical director, choreographer and technical director, along with their supporting staffs, in professional and community theaters.
She showed video clips about the business side of theater, using the example of the original Broadway musical “The Prom,” and the creative side of theater using clips from a documentary film about the worldwide hit musical “Wicked.”
“A director asks questions and plays the role of the audience,” said Joseph Mantello, the original director of “Wicked,” in one clip.
Ms. Guida asked her students about the qualities of a good director, and students suggested that a director should be flexible, collaborative, courageous, imaginative and enthusiastic about the project.
The Introduction to Theater courses are open to all students and include a range of acting training exercises including theater games, movement and voice exercises, pantomime and improvisation, as well as discussions on theater history, children’s theater and musical theater.
The Theater Production course is also open to all students and allows students to make theater as creators, designers, directors and performers. Students are working with play texts and examining world theater traditions, set design, lighting and sound production in support of school theater productions.
The Theater Outreach course offers select juniors and seniors the opportunity to assist the theater director as an intern for a variety of responsibilities, including production management, community support building and marketing.