On Thursday, December 6 at 4:30pm and Friday, December 7 at 7:00pm, seventh and eighth grade students from the Wellesley Middle School will put on two One Act plays in the auditorium. (General Admission seating with donation happily accepted at the door.)
The first play will be The Lottery, based on Shirley Jackson’s well-known 1948 short story and adapted for stage by Brianerd Duffield. "This unusual play captures the story that has become an internationally known classic. Like the story, the play starts as people are assembling for the lottery. What family will it be this time? Only gradually do we begin to suspect the nature of the lottery as the play builds swiftly to it's crucial and moving climax." This show, directed by Wellesley Middle School teacher Kara Sullivan, gives actors a chance to explore challenging subject matter in this thought-provoking production. According to Ms. Sullivan, “The best part about this play is that the kids are on board. They understand and appreciate the relevance of the story and I think that they are getting excited to share this tale.”
After a brief intermission, when snacks will be sold, the students will present the play Property Rites by Alan Haehnel. This show tells the story of Kyle MacManus who “ has invested millions in a high tech work of art: fifteen human-figure sculptures programmed to perform thousands of movements, monologues, dialogues and more. But just as Kyle is about to sell the sculpture, it malfunctions; the figures are alive. As each one struggles to achieve autonomy, the begin a fatal race against their desperate owner's destructive plan." This play is directed by WMS substitute drama teacher Victoria Portsmore. When asked about her background in theater, Ms. Portsmore reported, I grew up in local and community theater and continued throughout high school. After college, I continued taking classes in improv, performing all around the DC area with various non profit groups. I went to Emerson College for my Masters from 2009-2011, where I participated in many student-directed pieces, and was able to workshop my good friend Brett Schrier's new musical in a directing class there "The Time Between Us." During Grad school, I volunteered at Malden High School, and became a regular acting coach over there, assisting with Metamorphosis, Working, and their 10x10 One Act Festival. I assistant directed while student teaching at Weston High School both their devised festival piece and their musical Hot Mikado. At Watertown Middle School, I directed Into the Woods Jr.”
The enthusiastic casts of The Lottery and Property Rites are comprised of more than thirty middle school students. This is the first time on stage for some of the students, while others are veterans of WMS productions and local theater groups. They are assisted by a hard-working tech crew who run the light and sound systems and make sure the performances can be seen and heard by all. Helen Hamel heads up a group of more than twenty-five parents who have helped bring these productions to the stage. From costume and prop procurement assistance, to running a bake sale and keeping the kids quiet backstage, the parents of the performers are an integral part in making these shows a success.
Take the time from your busy schedule to make the trip to the Wellesley Middle School auditorium on Thursday, December 6 at 4:30 or Friday, December 7 at 7:00pm and you will be moved to tears and laugh and be amazed at the talent and enthusiasm of this young group of thespians.