What Does it Take to Bring Shrek! to the Stage?
This year’s upper elementary musical takes us to the land of Duloc – full of effervescent fairy tale creatures, eccentric princesses, loquacious donkeys, self-centered wannabe kings, and one particularly grumpy ogre.
Forced out of the kingdom for their inability to conform, the fairy tale creatures arrive at Shrek’s swamp, which he is quick to make clear is an oasis for ONE. Embarking on a journey to reclaim the solitude of his home, Shrek is soon joined by some unsolicited travel companions. Through them, we see Shrek begin to second guess his isolated life and ornery personality. This story provides crowd-pleasing comedy amidst touching themes of teamwork, friendship, and the importance of looking beyond the exterior of a person to get to know them.
Performances will be the culmination of a six week daily rehearsal process. Students dig into character development, tracking how and why their character changes throughout the course of the play. They learn music and staging and choreography, and then navigate how to put it all together while striving to be the most effective storytellers they can be. There is always lots of excitement surrounding the additions of props and sets and costumes, and students often have the opportunity to assist in the creation of these elements. Beyond the performance specific skills, the process of putting on a show also yields a deep dive into collaboration, empathy, confidence, projection, physical awareness, focus, and accountability.
If you are a parent or caretaker of a student performer, it is important to remember that the final week of rehearsals and the week of performances can bring about some big emotions. Nutrient dense foods and plenty of rest are paramount. Nerves are totally normal, but here are some reminders to tell any anxious performers:
Everyone (fellow castmates, peers, audience members) is there to support you, not judge you.
Mistakes might happen, but you are well-prepared to make necessary adjustments in the moment. Also, pssst… the audience doesn’t know what the lines and staging are supposed to be!
Shrek will be performed during school hours for the primary and lower elementary divisions, and on Wednesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 13 at 6:30pm for family and friends. A livestream link will also be made available. We hope you’ll join us and, as the kids sing, “let your freak flag fly!”
By Ms. Chelsie