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2022 Spring Session - January 16 to May 22

Clarion begins its first year of the Children's Theater Program

This has been a rich and joyful session for students, staff, and parents. From learning new songs, movements, and poetry, to creating and producing an original play by our most advanced students, we cannot be more proud of our achievements. The youngest group (ages 5 to 7) recited the beginning lines of William Blake’s The Tyger and performed at the Ferry Building to celebrate the Lunar New Year. This first experience of performing outside of their comfort zone was important in establishing a greater awareness of the world. The lessons then turned to learning a famous nursery rhyme in Cantonese, and students “traveled the world” by playing percussive instruments to Funiculi Funicula, the famous Italian aria; and dancing the South American cumbia. The class also learned about stage directions and how to make turns. By the end of the session, the children were singing Happiness from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

The junior group (ages 10 &11) started with writing haiku and practiced how to use voice, eyes, and hand gestures to communicate. April Rain Song, a poem by Langston Hughes, was used to illustrate how the imagery of a sentence can be altered by using different tones of the voice. We went on to choreograph April Rain Song along with Full Moon, a poem by Clara Hsu, into skits. Students performed the skits in front of parents and friends on April 23. More challenges have been planned for the students as they go on to practice enunciation and explore The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. An ancient Chinese “rap” in Cantonese is also in the works.

The advanced group (ages 13, 14, and 15) have all been involved in Clarion’s previous summer theater productions. With the encouragement and assistance of the staff, students learned how to formulate a play of their own from start to finish. This process involved understanding each character they created by giving each a background story, how to perform a monologue, stage presence, voice projection, choreographing, costume, and prop making. The result was the outlandishly original play, Bathroom Monster, Weed Dealer, and Beth. The play was performed live on May 14 & 15 at Clarion, to the enthusiastic response of the audience. Much appreciation goes to the parents for supporting their children's voices in dealing with real-life issues through the creative art of theater. As we look forward to the summer session, preparation is underway for the Qixi (NIght of Sevens) festival on August 4. This ancient festival honors women, their domestic work, nature, and animals. Clarion’s theater students will lead the way in this celebration.

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