8th Grade Play Review: ‘A Woman Called Truth’
“It was magnificent! Bravo to Miss Faustina and the 8th grade for taking on that powerful story of Sojourner Truth. They did such a fabulous job and the music was amazing and the movement and the way it also depicts part of what the 8th graders are going through at their age. Thank you, Faustina, and everyone else who was involved!” ~ Miss Cyndi Ross-Smith, Starflower Nursery Lead Assistant
“A Woman Called Truth” Play Review by Robin Mitchell
It is always a challenge to choose a play for 8th Grade students, since so many criteria come into play. For instance, does one look in the direction of Shakespeare or does one choose a more modern writer? Perhaps a musical show comes to mind? The size of the class and the many talents the class has to offer, also needs to be considered. Then again, one needs to assess the educative value for the students.
The Waldorf curriculum offers insight here. Revolutions and upheavals are part of the course of study during 8th Grade. Social change and civil rights issues such as the abolition of slavery and women’s rights are addressed, and their consequences are considered.
The play ‘A Woman Called Truth,’ by Sandra Fenichel Asher, focuses on these issues and challenges the students to delve into the attitudes and consequent actions and reactions of the various characters. Going further than simplistic cause and effect, both cast and audience are offered the opportunity to experience the role of ethics and morality as they play their part in social change.
It was interesting to see how the students managed to explore the characters they were playing, and bring them to life. Naturally, some managed better than others – yet they all played their parts well and the audience had no difficulty recognizing the motivations behind the actions on display. Noteworthy were all the central players – and especially Sydney Lewark – who had the responsibility of bringing this demanding play to life. But this was most clearly an ensemble production which required active participation from everyone in the class.
The effectiveness of this production also lay in its sheer simplicity.
There was no scenery – but well chosen use of the surrounding drapes, a few props and well designed and executed lighting. The costumes were also of simple design, indicating rather than dictating, and therefore more impactful. The use of tableau, of singing, and of simple dance sequences also shaped the various moods and time shifts so well that the continuity of the whole production went seamlessly.
I feel privileged to have witnessed such hard and inspired work from everyone involved.
~Robin Mitchell, retired Denver Waldorf School Eurythmy Teacher