Familiar Characters

in New Stories

FVL Theatre rotates plays, children’s theatre, and musicals to reach different audiences and give students a variety of experiences. Miss Sharon Mundt was looking forward to directing an October children’s theatre performance this fall, but COVID canceled that. So, our FVL Theatre leaders came up with a new plan.

Options started brewing . . .

The leaders met with interested students and raised the idea of writing, acting, directing, and filming short adaptations of classic fairytales. They could then post these videos for friends, family, local elementary school students, and others. (Productions will be linked on the FVL website when completed.) Mr. Matthew Foxen, head of FVL Theatre, explained, “This project allowed our students to participate in a dramatic experience while staying socially safe . . . and it allowed them to harness their creativity.”

The plot thickens . . .

Nearly 40 students from all grade levels collaborated on four separate plays. Each group put their own twists on the stories. Sophomore Nick Kraftzenk worked on a new rendition of Goldilocks. The star character is throwing a party, and nothing seems to work out “just right.” Nick helped in the group effort to write the script and then chose a smaller part to give him more time to experience the filming and editing process. “Writing our own script allowed us to make our characters act and talk the way we wanted,” Nick said. “Filming and editing allowed us to do things that we wouldn’t have been able to do on stage.” Junior Leah Nolte (pictured in the tree) also wore many different hats in her group. A theatre veteran, Leah has been involved in every performance since her freshman year. This fall, she elected to work behind the scenes—writing, directing, and filming—their version of Cinderella.

Developing character . . .

Foxen pointed out that this year’s approach gave the students more ownership of the final product and helped build skills in leadership and collaboration. “Some students became strong advocates for their own ideas—others excelled in scheduling skills and work delegation.” For Nick and Leah, they hoped that their audiences would see that theatre is a great way to let your imaginations take you to new and wonderful places. “FVL theatre is an amazing way to use our God-given talents to create art together,” Leah said. “I always have a super fun time with all the people involved. They become more like a family than just friends.”

Happy ending . . .

Foxen hoped the cast came away with a great sense of accomplishment. “I think our viewers will see the strength of our FVL students. They didn’t back down and let this pandemic tell them ‘no’! Rather, they let the situation inspire them to try something new—and potentially amazing.”

—Deanna Kolell Class of 2013

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