KINGMAN - Kingman High School teacher Clare Schroeder is taking the school's drama department in an entirely different direction.
Schroeder is using the skills and techniques she learned in college as a template to teach students how to read a play like a director, design a set and costumes to fit a time period of a play, and create a mood with lighting and sound.
The idea is to teach the students how the individual parts - lighting, sound, costumes, sets and acting - work together to create a well-rounded play.
Last year's students were thrown into a kind of quandary after their drama teacher, Harry Schueren, resigned mid-way through the year, she said. The district hired a full-time substitute to teach the class, but the students really didn't get to flex their acting and design muscles, Schroeder said.
"So, I started them over from scratch this year," she said.
Schroeder had her hands full with 34 students in her Drama 1 class and 48 students in the combined Drama 2 and 3 classes.
"It's made me really happy to finish my senior year with her," Willy Torres said. "I think the program will keep improving, if she stays."
This year's troupe of drama students are performing two one-act plays - "The People" and "The Flying Doctor" - at 7 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday. "The People" is a comedy and "The Flying Doctor" is a French farce. Tickets are $3 for students with a student ID and $5 for adults.
"This is the first time I think the school has done a one-act play," Schroeder said. "I'm really proud of these kids. They've come a long way."
"In one of the plays, one of the characters dives out a window. How do you do that?" she said. The students also had to deal with moving characters from inside to outside in one play.
"I had some of my college teachers telling me I couldn't do this with high school students, but these guys were so thirsty for knowledge ... they've really exceeded my expectations," she said. "It's been really cool watching them work."
"Having Ms. Schroeder come in the way she did has been great," said Torres, the lead character in "The People."