The Drama club at LMS has grown into a full-fledged Drama class, a rarity at most middle schools, said LMS Drama teacher David Holland.
“I don’t believe a lot of the middle schools have a drama class, at least to the extent we’re having here,” he said. “It’s about communication.
“As the world gets smaller, communication is becoming more and more important, and yet it’s kind of getting overlooked, as far as being able to make presentations and being to present yourself in front of a group of people,” Holland said. “We’re getting more and more disengaged with each other.”
Through theater, LMS students are learning how to interact with each other.
“My students are learning how to interact with each other again,” he said. “They’re learning how to work with each other. They’re learning how to present their ideas effectively in front of a group.”
Learning about acting is a great way of breaking down the walls that students sometimes build around themselves, he said.
Holland hopes to work very closely with Liberty High School’s drama program.
“We’re trying to build things so that kids can get 7-8 years of theater training, so kids can be equipped to be communicators and actors,” he said.
Holland also wants to explore partnerships with the Easley Foothills Playhouse and the Clemson Little Theater.
“I would love to see that,” he said.
For some parents in the audience at their kids’ shows, a feeling of pride in their child’s accomplishments mingles with a sense of boredom at the event itself.
David Holland feels parents’ pain.
“I don’t want to be that teacher,” he said. “I want to be to the teacher where the parents say, ‘He actually entertained me.’”
Find a production to mount that will be fun for middle school students to perform, while entertaining parents and older students in the audience hasn’t been easy, but Holland thinks he’s done it.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” a musical based on the popular Peanuts cartoon, is the first play launched by Holland and his drama students.
The play opens April 2 and runs through April 4. Evening performances begin at 7 p.m. with the April 4 matinee beginning at 3 p.m.
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” features Peanuts characters familiar to millions – Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and, of course, Snoopy – and Holland plans to add some other familiar faces to the play.
“There’s a lot of other characters like Franklin, Pigpen and Woodstock that didn’t make the cut in the script,” he said. “So we’re going to find ways to have them in the background at least, singing with the chorus.”
To raise money for the production, Holland has invited Work in Progress, a North Greenville College-based improve troupe, to perform a special show at Liberty Middle.
“This’ll be their third performance here so far,” he said. “It’s been very successful so
The show will mostly consist of short form comedy games, like those played on the television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
The show will appeal to an older audience, but will also be completely family-friendly, Holland said.
“It’s very important to them to keep their jokes at a higher level, instead of going for the easy joke that might be inappropriate or off-color,” he said.