November 18, 2011
STEPPING UP: The Drama Department looks to move out of the shadows and into the limelight with their upcoming performance, “The Course Acting Show Part 2.”
“It’s who we are. We created art before we ever created history, before we created math, before we created science, before we created language, we created art. It transcends everything. We are older than the English language itself. Art is human. Humans are art. It’s what we live for. Ever listen to music? Ever watch a movie? Did you ever paint? All these things are expressive, and we need to be expressive. We’re expressive animals, we’re expressive beings, we’d die without it. Art is not just important, art is life. Theatre is life.” - David Kline
Booster club props up struggling drama department
claire hassler Chief Copy Editor
“Think about this: If you sent your football team out on the field in their sweats without helmets, without uniforms, how would that feel to the school and to school spirit? This idea of doing that is absurd,” David Kline, head of the drama department, said. This year, for the first time, the drama department is starting a booster club to raise money for improving theatre at Bellevue High. So far, the booster club has raised nearly $400 – all from the support of parents. “I saw how late [the students] were working and they weren’t being fed. I thought ‘I can’t feed everybody...’ It just kind of grew from there,” Gigi Baker, one of the parents spearheading the effort, said. The booster club’s efforts will begin to show in this year’s play, “The Coarse Acting Show Part 2,” which will be presented on Dec. 7, 8 and 9. The play is about a small theatre company’s fundraiser, in which they decide to present their entire season in one night, with laughable results. “Cables have to break, scenery has to fall, we have a whale that actually has to eat people, and half the cast gets stuck under the floor. It should be good. It’s definitely comedy, think Monty Python meets Shakespeare,” Kline said. Throughout the night, students will see a myriad of plays within the play, including “Moby Dick," "The Cherry Sisters," "Breakfast," and "Henry V."
With an annual budget of approximately $9,000, the drama department is forced to compromise many important aspects of their shows, from costumes to sets. “My first year, we had to go get our own costumes because there was no money to buy them… We don’t have a whole lot of stuff for sets. We’ve had to borrow other schools’ stuff. None of our equipment works,” senior drama student Kara Smith said. In the past, drama has been forced to make do with barely enough money to buy the rights to their shows, which can cost up to $7,000 for a musical. “A musical is $12,000. And that’s cheap. Cheap. Actually, in other school districts that have booster clubs, they’re spending $85,000 on the musical,” Kline said. Aside from rights, another major expense is the venue. Due to the current construction, the drama department doesn’t have the Performing Arts Center and has to rent from other schools. This means that even improv shows, which are designed to have few props and a small set, cost money. The booster club will help pay for venues during construction, as well as for better sets and costumes. Kline hopes that they will have enough money to hire outside experts and improve the quality of BHS productions. “Where other theatre companies can hire a choreographer from Cornish or Spectrum, or they can hire a fight choreographer, or they can hire a professional costumer, a professional makeup artist, we can’t afford any of that. It is all on a limited budget or a volunteer basis,” Kline said. With the help of the booster club, the future of theater at BHS looks promising. “The booster club is the greatest thing that’s happened to us in years, and it’s happening at the perfect time… it couldn’t be better,” Kline said.
Dealing with the unexpected in teaching High school means stress, but it can also mean increased freedom. We are given this freedom not only because we deserve it for the hard work we do, but also simply because as we grow up, we learn to be independent. So after college when we’re finally adults with full-time jobs, we should have more freedom than ever, right? That is not always the case with professions in the real world, particularly for teachers. Even if you are truly passionate about teaching a particular subject, administrative decisions may impede your dedication in some way. Claudia Browers, a former art and social studies department teacher, was faced with this challenge when she was informed in her final year at Bellevue that she would no longer be teaching the subject she was most devoted to: art. Browers taught art for ten years at Sammamish High School, but was told in her final year that she would mostly teach social studies while teaching only
one art class. She transferred to BHS, where she taught art for three years. In her final year, she was once again split between teaching art and regular government. “Then at the end of that year, I was told that I would be all social studies, no art – that broke my heart, as art is my passion,” Browers said. Although she still maintains a strong interest in history and culture, Browers transferred to Tyee Middle
Like Browers, many BHS teachers have taught, or currently teach, more than one subject, often in different departments. Among these teachers are David Kline, who teaches the all theater-related courses and Honors Sophomore English, and Leigh Nelson, who teaches French 1, French 2 and Foundations of World History. “I never thought I would teach social studies... But I have undergraduate degrees in history and French, so I teach both,” Nelson said. According to Kline, instructing more than one discipline requires efficient organization in order to effectively teach students. “Basically, any time that you teach in more than one department, you also have to think in different lesson plans and the way that you get across the curriculum,” Kline said. All in all, teaching is a profession that requires both strong commitment and flexibility. Still, as Browers has demonstrated, it is possible for adults to combine their passion and profession. “I think that being in a middle school will help me be able to follow my heart and teach my passion for all
KRISTeN pORISCH Copy Editor
Teaching is a profession that requires both strong commitment and flexibility. School solely as an art teacher. “It is not that I did not enjoy teaching in two disciplines; it is just that being in two disciplines felt a bit schizophrenic. There were twice as many meetings and departmental responsibilities and I never really felt like I was participating 100 percent anywhere, or truly belonged in either department,” Browers said.