School's 'Drama Queens' do their part

Officials say theater offers great benefits to students at Lowell Whiteman School

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Less than a week before the live performances of "An Evening of Scenes and Monologues" at the Lowell Whiteman School, cast member Annie McLean was forced to scrap her roles after a nasty fall on the ski slopes.

In stepped shy Minnesotan Eleanor Margulies. Knowing her friends and peers needed her, she confronted her fear of performing before an audience. With only a couple of days to memorize new lines and attempt to become comfortable on stage, Margulies leaned on her fellow cast members and director Rusty DeLucia for confidence-building and acting advice.

The process provided a perfect example of the benefits drama can offer to students and why Whiteman officials are eager for students to continue a tiny drama program that relies solely on student interest for survival, Whiteman academic Dean Joanne Lasko said.

"Drama is a confidence-builder," she said. "If they're involved in drama, they'll do tenfold what they set out believing they could do. They also get a tremendous amount of interpersonal skills from working together."

The private school's small enrollment prevents it from offering a drama class, so whether the school is able to produce a performance each year depends on the dedication of its theatrically inclined pupils.

This weekend's performance coincided with the school's Parents Weekend, and Krautkramer Theater was the venue for the one-act play and series of monologues. The monologues and play were chosen by the students, one of whom authored her own monologue replete with inside jokes and cracks at the school, its staff and Steamboat Springs.

Other monologues included the self-absorbed rantings of an aerobics instructor, an angry young woman disgusted with love, and, overlooking them all, a guardian angel concerned she won't be able to come to the aid of one in need if she's busy watching over her other "clients."

The one-act play, "Duet Between Bear and Dog," let the audience listen to the conversation between a self-proclaimed "lap dog" and the brown bear it treed.

A group of seven girls, who call themselves the "Whiteman Drama Queens," didn't start rehearsing until the middle of January, but because they were performing monologues, they could practice on their own before taking their act to the stage.

"They've done beautifully on their own," DeLucia said. "They're just absorbing it like sponges. They just didn't have a lot of time."

The girls -- McLean, Margulies, Elizabeth Findell, Paige Bier, Susanna Rice, Jessie Smith and Morgan Dingle -- said their love of performing motivated them to add a production to their already hectic schedules. Joel Graham was the production's assistant stage manager and head costume consultant, and Nick Ludolph served as the lighting designer and technician. Kelsey Batson, violin, and Alejandro Pelaez, piano, provided music during intermissions.

Lasko said the school hopes students such as the "Drama Queens" continue to do their part to keep the performing arts alive at the school.

"It's a major deal to us that we keep drama and music going for students, even without (offering those) classes," Lasko said. "I would say that 100 percent of the time, these kids blossom in this setting. Things come out that never come out in the classroom. The get into the theater, and it's like a magical little world for them."

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