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Student Directors Speak Out: Shuddersome: Tales of Poe

The thumping of a heartbeat. The creek of a door. The howl of a bitter wind. The gong of a clock tower. The clang of alarm bells. The sound of beating wings getting closer and closer…

The students at Cook High School in Adel, Georgia celebrated many of Edgar Allen Poe’s best known works through Shuddersome: Tales of Poe. This vivid and theatrical classical adaptation by Lindsay Price proved to be an excellent opportunity for the students to each direct their own scene. Teacher Jeremy Williams was thrilled with the results:

The masks were the students’ idea, as was the V of chairs for The Raven. I’m giving them freedom to create, and trying to guide them without taking over.

The student directors were also eager to share their thoughts on the production:

Amanda H. (director of The Raven):

Because I’m usually the stage manager of the productions our troupe puts on, I’m sort of used to directing my technicians, but directing the blocking and movement is definitely different. Even coming up with what to do next is a bit of a challenge; getting everyone to do it without getting a ton of objections or other suggestions is an even bigger challenge and the most frustrating. 

Katie S. (director of The Oval Portrait):

For me, being the director is straying very far from what I’m used to doing. I’m used to being the actor on stage but when Mr.J asked me to direct a show for the class I knew it would be a learning experience. I personally love this show because instead of throwing a student headfirst into a full length show, it’s very easy to separate and give many students the opportunity to see what directing is like. It has been challenging at times but I appreciate that it is helping me grow as an actor and as a leader. I’ve had to learn that my opinion isn’t always the deciding one, in fact many of my cast members have had many great ideas that we have implemented into our show. Directing this show has led to a great story full of creative expression and fun, and I am very happy with our progress so far.

Kristy B. (director of The Bells):

It has been a learning experience for me; I haven’t really been a part of theatre in the past so it’s very different. However, I enjoy who I’m working with for the most part. The only trouble I have really faced is trying to keep them on task without being hot-headed. To me we are a team that has to work together to be successful. I can safely say it has been a great learning experience for me and my team.

Amazing efforts and results, Cook High School!

*Photo credit: Jeremy Williams

Products referenced in this post: Shuddersome: Tales of Poe

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