Home > Uncategorized > Time and space: What the high school scene shop gave me

Time and space: What the high school scene shop gave me

A few threads of thought have been converging lately.  First, I have been reading books on teaching children who are just starting to learn English; across the board these books emphasize that the students need time and space in which to develop their skills.  Second, one of my high school classmates just announced that she’s pregnant with her first child.  I thought back to my first memories of her, telling stories at lunch in the scene shop of our high school theatre, and was amazed that she’s becoming a mom.

I still remember how enthralled I was by Kara’s storytelling when I started in theatre.  She was always funny and always knew how to keep her audience’s attention – even among the many competing voices of the drama department.  I remember deciding that I needed to learn how to do this – needed to learn how to tell a story that kept people’s attention – and that I would watch her to figure out how she did it.  More than a decade later I can often hold the floor among my friends (though I still don’t think I’ve learned to do this within my family).

For me, the story sessions in the high school scene shop were a gateway into another way of life.  Instead of the dull chatter of the cafeteria tables, I spent my lunch times surrounded by crazy stories told by talented performers.  At first I watched, but eventually I joined in.  Lunches in the scene shop gave me the time and space I needed to survive – and even thrive – in high school.  It was a break from the constant work of the rest of the day, and a safe space to try out new skills.  I have no memory of being in the cafeteria after the spring of 9th grade – but I have hundreds of memories of eating lunch on toolboxes around plywood tables.  I’m not sure I would have liked high school much without this.

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