Students hit the historical stage

Published 9:31 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Montessori sixth-graders (from left) Noah Warren, Clayton Clark, Sarah Parker, Kelly Watson and Hayden McFarlin run through a dress rehearsal Wednesday afternoon. The annual dinner theater production will be tonight at First Baptist Church. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)

Students at the Washington Montessori Public School will be hitting the stage tonight in three productions loosely based on North Carolina history.
“They always tie in their sixth grade play on whatever they’re studying,” said Jen Hales, interim head of the school.
This year’s plays are “Blackbeard: the King of Pirates,” “The Ghost of the Old Beaufort County Courthouse” and “Orville and Wilbur Wright: First in the Air.”
The productions are part of the school’s annual dinner theater fundraiser. The dinner theater is a tradition at Montessori that has become a right of passage for students.
“I think we’ve all been excited about this for the last two years,” said Mackenzie Kirby, “Annabelle” in the Blackbeard production. “It’s also given us time to really bond.”
At Montessori, students are in the same class for fourth, fifth and sixth grade. The play is the biggest project they tackle with students in their same grade.
Proceeds will send the sixth grade class on an educational trip that students help plan. They research the costs of hotels and transportation then hold fundraisers throughout the year to pay for it.
“I’ve been looking forward to going on the sixth-grade trip since the third grade,” said Kamiah Keyes, who plays Lady Beaufort in the Blackbeard production.
The Blackbeard cast described their play as a “lighthearted, completely fictional melodrama on the high seas.”
“This is a really creative class,” Hales said.
“I think this will be the most memorable year ever,” said Taylor Sparrow, also known as “Blackbeard.”
Students have been working on the productions for about a month. They either wrote the plays or modified ones they found online, adding characters and adapting them with North Carolina history.
Each student auditioned for the parts they wanted and their instructors cast the plays.
“Some people didn’t get the part they wanted, but we all like the parts we have now,” said Sarah Parker, “Jane” in the Blackbeard production.
Cast members also took part in set production and special effects. They spent days drawing, cutting and sewing backdrops.
Students ran dress rehearsals before an audience of their peers Wednesday afternoon. Most were a bundle of nerves.
“You just gotta learn how to use all that nervous energy,” Kirby said.
The event will be held tonight at First Baptist Church, 113 North Harvey Street, in Washington. Dinner is served at 6 p.m. and the plays will start at 7 p.m.
The cast members will serve a menu that includes chili, corn chowder and Brunswick stew.