Theater arts has been part of the St. Mark's academic curriculum for 46 years now, and recent events have not stopped its momentum, but rather simply refocused its direction somewhat.
It is true, notes Theater Arts teacher Christopher Kent (pictured at left), that circumstances make it "a struggle to coordinate any kind of ensemble work or true acting so far." To that end, he notes, "in Theater 1 we have been doing some work on theatrical design and exploring the directing principles of expressionism and realism. Students read and analyzed the play Death of a Salesman from the perspective of a director or designer and developed comprehensive plans to approach specific moments in terms of lighting, costumes, and props." As the term progresses remotely, Kent's students will be exploring dramaturgy techniques, researching different historical and stylistic elements to influence the production of the play Eurydice by Sarah Ruhl. "During this time," says Kent, "students will experiment with performing and recording monologues and short one-person scenes from the play."
Mr. Kent also teaches a Special Topics in Theater class, and with remote learning they have moved from group improvisation into script writing. His students are writing original comedy sketches in the style of Saturday Night Live. "We are exploring principles or comedy, such as parody," he says, "and the goal is to use peer critique to develop a group writing process, complete with characterized stage readings and potential mock performances."
Even in the face of current events, the St. Mark's Theater Arts program continues to engage its students in depth, fostering creativity and intellectual spark, keeping strong the successful tradition of the past half-century.