Over 100 Esperanza Academy Charter High School students and faculty, along with family and friends from the community, enjoyed an afternoon of short scenes performed by the Esperanza Drama majors on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Dwight Wilkins, the Drama teacher, presided over the 2018 Winter Drama Showing in the auditorium, and shared with the audience that he was excited to be teaching two drama classes for the first time in his tenure.
The students performed selected scenes from In the Heights, a musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Hudes (who visited Esperanza Academy for a master class playwriting workshop last year), William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Our Town by Thornton Wilder.
Drama majors Genesis Fernandez (12th grade) and Angeleah Rivera (10th grade) reflected on their experiences in drama before the showcase. Genesis cited overcoming challenges as her favorite part of studying drama.
“I like the struggle because when there’s so much pressure, I think that’s when people have to work together no matter the differences going on. They have to push through,” said Genesis, who had parts in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and In the Heights. She noted that time constraints and absences provided challenges that the students managed to overcome to put on performances that the audience clearly enjoyed.
Angeleah, who performed in a scene from Our Town, said that growth was her favorite part of being in drama: “I like seeing how you can grow from the beginning to the end of a performance.” She says her improvement in memorization this year has allowed her to focus on other elements of acting.
“First, I have to memorize lines and once I get the hang of it, now I get a feel of what’s happening and maybe I can focus on body language,” she said. Angeleah has also come away with a sense of the value of collaboration and partnership when many people are involved in putting on a show: “Use other people’s input. Don’t just have it your way.”
For Genesis, the Winter Drama Showing is one more step towards a future that she hopes will involve acting. “I’m definitely considering taking this a step forward in the real world, actually going to auditions,” she said.
Congratulations to the many drama students and to Mr. Wilkins for a successful showcase! We look forward to their next performances this spring.