News & Views

Fifth & Sixth Grade Performing Arts Students Produce Original Play: "The Quest for the Sceptor"

Fifth and sixth grade performing arts students presented their original play "The Quest for the Scepter" to audiences of Middle School classmates, family, faculty and staff during a dress rehearsal and performance held in the school’s auditorium the week of June 3. The production was entirely student-conceived, choreographed, designed and performed by the ensemble cast of 21 students over the course of the spring trimester.
The play is about three nations sending emissaries to form a search committee to hunt for a missing scepter which they believed, once located, would magically restore unity to their region. After working together to overcome several obstacles and ultimately finding the scepter, the heroes realize that the scepter holds no powers, it is just a symbol of unity. The quest itself had brought them together creating bonds of compassion, wisdom and strength which would in turn, result in peace across the three nations.
In addition to the original script conceived by the students and edited for cohesion by Performing Arts Teacher Andrew Tyson, the 45-minute production also featured six songs. For expediency, the students re-wrote the lyrics to songs they already knew well. For example, Aladdin’s “You’ve Never Met a Friend Like Me” soon transformed into “You’ve Never Met a Foe Like Me,” sung to villainous effect by fifth-grader Devon Rudd of Stamford. 
Despite varying levels of experience, everyone had speaking lines and all shared singing and dancing responsibilities. Fifth-grader Cecilia Thompson of Stamford who had acted previously, felt she honed her stagecraft skills. “To compensate for what we thought was going to be minimal set design and costumes, we learned how to best project our voices and emote with as much feeling as possible. We needed to draw the audience’s focus towards us and we thought we would really need to work hard to keep their attention. As it turned out, we got great costumes at the eleventh hour, but it was a good lesson that I’ll keep with me.”  
Some participants like fifth-grader Juan-Carlos Bowman of New Canaan had no prior theatrical experience and simply brought a sense of adventure to the project. Juan-Carlos had watched from the audience as his older sister, Consuelo, participated in several NCCS theatrical productions. “She told me that Middle School is the time to try a lot of different things and I thought that it looked like it might be fun. I’m glad I did it. I’m glad they offered it as an arts class during school time so I didn't have to give anything up to be in the play. I still got to play baseball. ” He went on to add that his favorite part was the actual performance but that he also enjoyed hunting in the school’s basement for props and costumes. “I didn’t even know the school had a basement!”
The full cast included: Mira Caplan (Narrator), Annie Mallozzi (Narrator), Ashley Teles (Strength Leader), Kate Regan (Wisdom Leader), Charlotte Parker. (Compassion Leader), Hayley Edwards (Inej/Strength), Charlotte Tocks (Ember/Strength), Juan-Carlos Bowman (Gray/Wisdom), Cecilia Thompson (Wren/Wisdom), Roman Massey (Fern/Compassion), Caroline Irwin (Rose/Compassion), Crosley Roberts (Raven), Marin Gokgol-Kline (Crow), Max Tangen (Asimnar), Ella Agulay (Minion 1), Elsa Ward (Minion 2), Olivia Back (Minion 3), Sloane LeBaron (Minion 4), Devon Rudd (Ivory), Ava Dell'Aquila (Citrine) and  Aidan Grant (Stone).
Performing Arts Teacher Andrew Tyson supervised the ensemble cast but was quick to point out that he and the other supporting faculty, Lindy Toczko and pianist Brian Muller, were there as guides.
“It was amazing to watch the students work together. They shared ideas and built upon each other’s suggestions. It was truly a team effort with no one group of students driving the creative process more than another,” said Mr. Tyson. 

View production.

New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.