Teaching Drama

The Drama Classroom: There is a seat for everyone at the table

Written by Lindsay Price

Episode 175: The Drama Classroom: There is a seat for everyone at the table

Scott Giessler is a teacher and a playwright. He went into theatre teaching without any training and not only is he still doing it, he has a strong philosophy for how to do it. He’s well aware that what you need as a teacher isn’t necessarily what your students need. And for Scott, he’s adamant that there is a seat for everyone at the table in the theatre classroom. Enjoy this conversation from the trenches of the drama classroom and the importance of what goes on there.

Show Notes

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Drama Teacher Podcast brought to you by Theatrefolk – the Drama teacher resource company.

I am Lindsay Price.

Hello! I hope you’re well. Thanks for listening!

This is Episode 175 and you can find any links to this episode in the show notes which are at Theatrefolk.com/episode175.

Okay. Today is a great conversation. It’s about stepping into a Drama classroom, what the Drama classroom means, and what is the purpose of being a Drama teacher. Frankly, I think that’s about as much introduction as this episode needs. It’s lovely. I think it’s just lovely.

I’ll give you something to listen for, though.

Scott, our guest – who is also a teacher and a Theatrefolk playwright – does not believe in the phrase “the show must go on.” Why, you ask? Let’s get started and find out.

LINDSAY: All right, I am talking to Scott Giessler.

Hello, Scott!

SCOTT: Hi there! How are you?

LINDSAY: Excellent! And how are you?

SCOTT: I am doing terrific. Thank you for having me.

LINDSAY: Yeah!

So, tell everyone where in the world you are.

SCOTT: Okay. Well, I am currently located in a lovely little hamlet here in New Hampshire called Tuftonboro which, most people, of course, will never have heard that but, if you know where Lake Winnipesaukee is in New Hampshire, that’s where you’d fine me.

LINDSAY: Well, of course, we all know where that is, Scott. We know where you are!

SCOTT: Okay!

LINDSAY: And so, Scott is not only a teacher – and, actually, it looks like you wear a ton of hats from teaching theatre tech to performance to filmmaking and playwriting. Scott has written a fantastic little piece – not a little piece – a piece, a great piece called “Finishing Sentences” which we have. We’re going to talk about it but we’re going to start with you, Scott.

Tell everybody how long you have been a theatre teacher.

SCOTT: Okay. I’ve been teaching for about sixteen years. Well, it’s been exactly sixteen. I started my career and stayed in my career at Kingswood Regional High School and I teach a theatre class there as well as coach the afterschool theatre program there. It’s been a great run.

LINDSAY: What was it that connected you to teaching? Why teaching theatre?

SCOTT: Well, oddly enough, if you kind of connect it up at the play, I worked as a camp counselor when I was younger and it was really – and this is even now strange to say – it was the only I had ever really connected with for the first – I don’t know – 26 years of my life. But, you know, I was also an avid theatre student in high school, did a little bit more in college.

I took a break from that because I was mostly paying attention to television and radio broadcast. But, when I got out of the working world, you know, I really felt like something was missing. And then, I sort of harkened back to the days of being a camp counselor. I went back, worked at that camp – that I actually still work at now – for a summer. And then, as fate would have it, the local high school in town was looking for a theatre teacher. You know, I let them know – I was an avid theatre person; I was an actor all through high school; I was a writer in college – that sort of thing. But I had not had the formal training, but they needed somebody and they brought me in.

That first year – as I’m sure everybody will know – is a very difficult year, even if you’ve got the education degree. When you don’t, it’s even more interesting.

LINDSAY: A little bit trial by fire, I think, eh?

SCOTT: It is a lot trial by fire.

LINDSAY: Lots of fire! Lots of fire!

SCOTT: A good friend of mine said to me, “You know, in your first year of teaching, the good news is that 50 percent of the things you’re going to try are going to work. Do you want to know what the bad news is?”

LINDSAY: Well, except that that’s actually pretty good odds because that means that your 50 percent that things are going to go okay and that’s good odds for staying in teaching.

SCOTT: Yeah. So, that first year was tremendous. It was a huge learning curve for me, especially with coaching the theatre program because I threw my guts into it – all the way from the beginning. It was just something that I really wanted to succeed. You know, a lot of those things that I was doing in that first year just weren’t firing. So, it’s been a learning process; always will be a learning process.

LINDSAY: Why do you think that is? Because, I have to tell you, we have a lot of folks – and there’s going to be a lot of folks listening – who were in the exact same boat as you. They either have a different degree and a theatre job came open and they needed the job, or they’ve been working for twenty years and, all of a sudden, their job is no more and they’d been thrown into the theatre world.

So, we’ll change gears back but this is a good road to go down a bit, why do you think, back then, some of the choices you were making weren’t working?

SCOTT: Well, I think, most certainly, I was coming in with a bunch of preconceived notions about what the kids wanted and needed. You know, when you don’t have a point of reference, that could probably be something that a lot of people would do.

The thing about it is, as much as it’s important what you can bring in the door, you have to understand the primary focus is “what do they bring in the door?” and that’s one of those things that I think always – that’s why you’re always relearning a job – because every time a new kid comes in the door, they’re bringing something new in the door to you.

And so, what you get excited about, what you think is going to light their fire is no necessarily what it’s going to do. For a lot of them, it will, but not everyone. You know, you think, okay, you do it for a couple of years. You set up your operation of how to meet the kids’ needs – and you do, you have to meet their needs, especially in an extracurricular program – and then, suddenly, the variables change and you think, “Okay, I’m starting all over again. It happened.” It’s just because you’ve got to relearn the kids that are coming in.

LINDSAY: Well, I think theatre, most than anything else, a theatre classroom is an interesting experience because it is so much about there is a relationship.

SCOTT: Yeah.

LINDSAY: Sometimes, there’s more of a relationship than curriculum, isn’t there? Sometimes, because of what’s being taught – you know, all those skills like communicate with each other.

SCOTT: Yeah, and it’s trust, too. I think that’s the biggest thing and you talk about relationships versus curriculum. I suppose – and I don’t mean to cast any form of dispersion on it but, with a math teacher, your trust is going to be built with “I’m going to show you how to do this and, when it works, you trust me.” With a theatre teacher, you’re asking them to dig down into themselves and take some social risks now.

Rick Lavoie would often talk about, in his works, you know, the ongoing siege that middle-schoolers go through to keep from embarrassing themselves when they come into school. That’s their number one priority.

And then, you know, at the high school level, you get them in and the first thing you tell them at the door is make a fool of yourselves onstage and you’ve got to establish trust. You know, curriculum is great and curriculum will help, but – you talked about the relationships – if you don’t have a relationship with them, you won’t have the type of trust you need for them to take those social risks.

LINDSAY: That’s so interesting. I love and hate the word “siege.” It’s so absolutely true.

So, if you come in there and you’re like – because I’ve done that, I’ve gone in and sort of been the performing pony at the beginning of the class and I love the way you put it – what you bring in the door isn’t necessarily what they bring in the door – that my love for theatre isn’t necessarily their love for theatre.

SCOTT: That’s it. That’s it right there.

You know, I would have a French teacher in high school that absolutely loved the language and could not figure out why in the world I didn’t love it the way she did. You know, I feel bad about that in retrospect, mind you. But, at the time, it was just one of those things that didn’t excite me the way it did her and I didn’t achieve and it was one of my weaker classes, if you will.

LINDSAY: Yeah. So, sixteen years later, you didn’t quit.

SCOTT: Right! Yeah, somehow, I managed to rally.

You know, just as a quick side note, after my first year, I remember sitting on a park bench with my wife and I just broke out into tears and she said, “What’s the matter?” I said, “I just realized I’ve got to do this all over again.” Anyway, yeah…

LINDSAY: And you didn’t quit!

Now, looking back, what do you think are the things that you do right?

SCOTT: What do I do right? Oh, gosh.

LINDSAY: We’re always talking about what we do wrong, right? Like, we’re always talking about that. So, you must be doing something right because you’re still here and you don’t sound bitter. You sound like it’s something that you love.

SCOTT: Yeah.

LINDSAY: What do you do right?

SCOTT: Okay. Well, I think, if I were to take some guesses at it, it would be something along the lines of this.

I accept the fact, first of all, that most of the kids – if not all of the kids, but most, anyway – who come in the door, and even the ones who love theatre the most, are here not necessarily because they’re going to be studying that after high school. You know, just as a side note, every now and then, you think, “Why are you not studying theatre in college?” because, for them, they’re like, “Well, I’m going to go off and I’m going to be a nurse or I’m going to go off to study and be a history teacher or whatever.” But, understanding that their priority might not be to make this a career and so you’re kind of left with, “All right, where are we going with all of this then?”

I think that what I try to tell people, one of the first things I tell people is that the reason I love theatre is that, unlike most other extracurricular programs, everybody’s got a seat at the table. For starters, you have your actors which, of course, they’ve got the seat at the table – that’s a little obvious.

Then, you have the guy who is in the constructions trades class who, for some reason, gets dragged in because his girlfriend is in the program and we send him over to the scene shop and we can’t live without him. We’ve got the kid who doesn’t want anything to do with the stage but just loves the costume room. We have the kid who is really great with Photoshop and wants to do all the posters for us. We have kids who just want to be a part of the magic and end up being our house crew or backstage crew.

You know, we point out to them, all the way through, you know, in basketball, if the third-stringer player doesn’t show up, well, it’s not really a problem because we’ve got two other strings to send in whereas, in theatre, anyone that doesn’t show up, it throws a monkey-wrench into the whole works. And so, you know, we’ve kind of always embraced the concept that there is no unimportant cog in the machine here. We need every last piece to make it move.

You know, this sort of counterbalancing the idea that, well, theatre is just for theatre kids, I think, at the end of the day, what I tell people is that the experience I hope you’ll get is that you’re willing to lend yourself over to something bigger than you and see it through to completion and make it mean something to you.

I mean, I have this phrase where, you know, we talk about after a show in the theatre class because there’s a lot of meta that goes on there, if you will. I tell them, you know, I’ve never really been behind the phrase “the show must go on” because it’s not true. I’ve seen shows fall apart. I’ve seen them – not necessarily under my watch but I know that there have been shows that have fallen apart. The proper phrase really is “the show will go on as long as the people running it are a concerted group of people who care a great deal about the outcome.”

Whether it be theatre or whatever else you do in life, you know, commit yourself to it. That’s one thing I would say has probably been our sort of battle-cry in the Kingswood theatre program – it’s that you’re all important.

LINDSAY: There must be a shorter phrase of saying it though because “the show will go on so long as the group, everybody’s in there,” you know, that must take a lot of time.

SCOTT: It does take a little time. I don’t quite have it down to a bumper sticker yet but I think I’m getting there.

LINDSAY: You know what? The show will go along as long as the group cares about the outcome. It’s the “care” word, I think, that is special because the show could be anything. It could be the history project. It could be the work, the job – everyone working at the county pool, you know? It doesn’t matter.

I also think it’s so important, I don’t know where kids are learning these days how to work with other people and to have a sense of pride in a project – whatever that project may be – and that it’s important that you show up.

SCOTT: Yeah, and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve racked my brain for a while and – you know, sort of being in the theatre teacher corner here – I look at a lot of other programs and I’m not sure I can identify too many other programs that can make that claim in the sense that you have one kid who calls you the night of the show and says, “I can’t make it.” You’ve got a major problem and it can be any one of the kids, especially if the program is run in the way that…

I mean, I don’t cut. That’s my rule. For the same reason that a math teacher doesn’t throw a kid out of math class because he can’t get the hang of math, you don’t cut a kid from a high school theatre program because he’s not very good at theatre. You know, in this situation, the moment they make the commitment to be there, they’re there and, you know, we’re going to invest time in them but, more importantly, they’re investing their time in others.

LINDSAY: Well, isn’t that all they want to hear?

SCOTT: Yeah.

LINDSAY: All they want to hear is that they’re accepted.

SCOTT: Right.

LINDSAY: I think that’s always been, actually, it’s the thing that took me a long time to learn but has always been my favorite part of being involved in drama and education or theatre and education. It’s that I don’t really care about helping a kid become a professional at it but just the look on their face when you say, you know, “This is good! This is a great draft!” or “I really enjoyed that moment onstage! You should just keep going!” To be a part of that – I don’t know – building a kid’s self-confidence when so many people are doing their darnest to take it in the other direction, it’s thrilling to me.

SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely, and I think that, beyond that, the successes, I think, in our job, are measured by the moments where a kid says, like, they surprise themselves that they did so well.

LINDSAY: Yeah!

SCOTT: Yeah, that’s the measurement there.

LINDSAY: I believe it. I love it. I love it!

Well, I think you’ve got a great story there, Scott. You know, just sort of walking into a program and not quite knowing how to figure things out. Now, sixteen years later, you’ve got something, eh? You’ve got something.

SCOTT: Got something very impressive.

I’ll tell you what, in and of itself, the journey, you know, I could bore you for hours just on the craziness of it. we started in this old, beat-up, ratty, falling apart auditorium. It was 600 seats, but it had been built 46 years previous and had no maintenance put into it. Where we are now is this arts centre – Kingswood Arts Centre which is this state-of-the-art, 850-seat venue which is sometimes like performing in an airplane hangar, it’s so huge! But it’s this thing that, when the kids come in the door, their jaw just drops.

You know, anybody who tells you that money and education don’t have a relationship has not taken that ride. Where we are now with the facilities we have, not that they didn’t work their hearts out beforehand but now they walk in and they know they’ve got an obligation. So, it’s a heck of a place to be.

LINDSAY: There is a layer of importance, right?

SCOTT: Yeah.

LINDSAY: Again, we know so many folks who are doing theatre in not even classrooms and cafetoriums but I think, sometimes, an important space can just add a layer.

SCOTT: I will tell you this, on the counterpoint of that, I have a lot of professional colleagues who are in situations like that who do tremendous – and I mean absolutely, like, makes me green with envy tremendous – work. It’s a found space. They’ll be in a cafetorium or a café-gym-atorium and then they’ll show up at a theatre festival that we’re at and they will come out, you know, with absolutely fantastic work.

On some levels, like I said, it’s great to have the arts centre, but you also have to bear in mind that it’s the work that they do with each other. You know, even when you strip the gear down, it’s the work that they do with one another that can make all the difference.

LINDSAY: Well, and I think it’s all about the person in-charge because I’ve seen lots of high school work that you know was done in beautiful spaces and with beautiful costumes and with beautiful sets and it’s empty, you know, because they’re using the items to speak for them as opposed to their work.

SCOTT: Yeah.

LINDSAY: Oh, that was so exciting! That was a great opener to “Finishing Sentences.”

So, what made you want to write a play for your students? Or were you just like, “Oh, I’ve got to write this,” and then you had students?

SCOTT: Well, I think it wasn’t the first play that I’d written that I’ve done with the students. I think it’s sort of become a habit that, if I write something, I will put it in front of the students and that’s a whole separate problem. If you want to know about it, I’ll tell you about it. But the idea of saying, “Here it is, are you interested in doing it?” and, you know, it’s my only real directing outlet. If they decide that they want to do it, then we do it there. But I usually write for the sake of writing. That is a given, I think. I can’t imagine doing it pretty much any other way.

This play gets written and we have to make a decision. I have to put it in front of them and find a way to erase my name off it so they can’t figure out who it belongs to.

LINDSAY: Do you, really? Do you go in blind?

SCOTT: I do. Well, here’s the thing. I used to write pretty regularly to the point where the students were asking, “What have you written? What have you written?” There was a point where it started to, you know, I did five in a row that way – five years in a row with each year we did something I wrote. And then, I kind of ran out of material for starters. Second of all, I said, “I think we need to just go back to discovering plays written by professionals.” So, I took a big break from that.

And so, when this came back in, it had been more than a four-year cycle. So, when I was able to kind of slip this in, I made sure nobody knew it was me because I don’t want to be that guy. I swear; I don’t want to be that teacher that says, “I’ve written something and we’re doing it!” because that’s not a burden I would ever want to put on my students.

LINDSAY: Well, it goes two ways, too – you know they’re going to be honest. There’s no group of folks more honest than your high school class. If you asked, “Do you like it?” They would tell you if they didn’t.

SCOTT: Yeah. And so, that’s the hard part. And then, of course, come the awkward moment where you have to tell them the truth afterwards once they’ve decided, “Okay, we want to go with this script.” You’re like, “Okay, now I have to tell you who wrote it and then we’ll decide again whether or not you actually want to do it.” They’re usually perfectly fine and excited, too. It’s not anything super awkward but I do want to make sure that it’s not something that’s railroaded into them.

LINDSAY: And then, what’s your process? Do you rewrite with them? do you see what they’re doing and go away? I mean, this is something that I think that is interesting because there are lots of folks out there who would love to write for their students and aren’t quite sure how to get about it. They’d love to have something that’s specific. So, which process?

SCOTT: Well, okay, the process, we usually do table reads for starters. You sit, you read, you get feedback, the group discusses feedback. I mean, I was trained, when I was in college, you know, I was learning how to write for TV and TV is all about table reads. You do that and you get the feedback and you discuss, “Okay, what are the solutions for the areas that aren’t working?”

But, more likely, what really happens is, especially, like, within a script like “Finishing Sentences,” you have a lot of kids who have their own personal experiences with summer camp and so they’ll start contributing to that, saying, “We need this and we need this.” You start to go, “Right!”

You know, in a lot of places, when the script gets submitted, there’s a lot of sort of fill-in-the-blank areas. There’s placeholders for things. An example being the doowop group that we have in the show which, you know, we decided to do because we had the resources there. But, you know, we went to the doowop group and said, “What songs are we doing?” Now, the doowop group, these are kids who are acapella singers and we started saying, “Let’s go make a list. Let’s make a list of the songs we’re going to sing that would be camp songs – that kind of thing.” There’s that process.

That’s only the beginning of it. You have some sort of work. At some point, you’ve got to just say, “This is it. This is our working script for the moment. This is what we’re going to have people audition to. This is what we’re going to build the rehearsal schedule around.”

I know that I have been in situations before where the writing has been rushed and it’s been a disaster. So, you want to make sure, when we talk about students will come to me and say, “I want to write a script for the festival next year” or, usually, they say, “I want to write a script for the festival that we’re auditioning for next month.” I say, “You know, probably not next month. Let’s start working on an idea now. Let’s talk about the three-act structure. Let’s start to get a sense of where we’re going.” You don’t want to try and rush it.

But then, when you get into the rehearsal process – and this is the part that I would have expected and what I was nervous about was – working with my own writing, would I be playing too much protection to it?

And so, the first couple of times that we did a show that had a draft written by me originally, I put a student in-charge of the directing and I just produced it so I could stay out of the way. But I found that, no matter what they did, I would be at ease about it. I was a little surprised. I was like, “Yeah, oh, that’s a great idea! Let’s do that! Let’s change this.”

The other part about writing an original is the only originals I’ve ever written are one-acts that are intended for a festival. Now, you’re dealing with a time constraint which is an excellent thing to learn how to write to.

LINDSAY: I’ve always loved time constraints. Or I’ve always loved, like, festival rules.

SCOTT: Now, it’s a little bit harrowing. It makes your hair fall out a little bit, especially when you’re watching the show and wondering, “Okay, do I have a 40-minute or less show?”

But what it does do, as a writer, it really says to the writer and the cast who are performing, “What is the important thing? How do you say something in one word rather than five?” You know, how do you create a moment that has no words in it and keep the pace of the show going?” These are all things that you learn when you have the ability to cut up a script and rewrite it, knowing full well that you’ve got to say what you need to say and do what you need to do in a certain amount of time.

It’s an artificial thing, granted, but what it does do is force you to really boil it down. If I look at some of the stuff that I’ve written – let’s say ten, twelve years ago – and I look at some of the stuff that I’ve written now, I can really appreciate, “Okay, I’ve figured out how to pick up the pacing and not rely on dialogue nearly as much,” and this is the thing that, when I teach students scriptwriting, I will say, “Most of your story, you’re going to tell through action. Dialogue is almost like the chocolate syrup on top of a sundae. It should not be treated like it’s going to guide us through.” That’s the part that you’ve got to instil on the students. “Show me; don’t tell me.”

LINDSAY: Absolutely. It is the thing that I find that students struggle with the most because, well, they’ve always written stories, right? They’ve been writing stories. They’ve read stories. They’ve heard stories since before they even started school. So, it makes sense that, when they start to write plays, they want to tell me a story or tell us a story and not show us a story.

SCOTT: And a student doesn’t quite know how to create audibles. The thing that we nickname like a “mmm, ugh, huh!” You know, they don’t know how to script that. It doesn’t occur to them and those vocals non-words quite often are far more effective than any dialogue you can write. You know, getting them to start really thinking about “what does this scene really sound like?” and getting them to understand that.

So, you know, getting it back to the rehearsal process, quite often, you’re saying, “Okay, I’ve got 40 minutes. This scene, unfortunately, lasts six and it’s meant to be a smaller scene in the continuum of the story. What do we need to do to bring this down?” That is a wonderful author teaching tool.

LINDSAY: That’s awesome because, like, all of this is a teaching moment. It’s not just even putting up a play or even working on your own writing. You’re modelling. You’re modelling the playwriting process for your students.

SCOTT: Right. The more you can take yourself out of it when you’re doing it, the better. I mean, let’s face it. If I was truly going to do this job, we’d start from scratch. I would put a script in front of them and let them kind of work it up. Unfortunately, with time constraints, in a year, you don’t always have that luxury. So, then, in the process of “here’s a show I’ve written,” to completely divorce yourself from the ownership of the work has got to be the first step.

If an actor says to me, “This is worded really wonky for me,” you know, absolutely, go and change it. Make it yours. Make it your own. Most of the time, my students will struggle with somebody else’s writing because of the wording. But, now, they’ve got a chance to really go and tear that open.

That’s why I like to see, you know, with all the written works – professionally written works we do – I stand on the firm ground that, at least once in your experience of being a performer or a set builder or a costume designer, you need to work with an original work because, if you look at the industry by and large, that’s what people are doing. I mean, you see a lot of revivals on Broadway, granted, but when you step right down off of Broadway, that’s where you’re seeing all the really interesting stuff and it’s all brand new.

That’s, I think, what theatre is – creating something from scratch. It starts with just the kernel of an idea in somebody’s mind. And then, somewhere later on, you’ve got this giant thing onstage which is own life and breath, and that to me is exciting. Getting them there to say, “Okay, there’s no place to look at the costume list, there’s no place to look at the set plot. You can’t go and watch the video online of this show that’s been done before and you’ve got to make all those critical decisions,” that to me is a whole section of theatre that, without working on an original piece, you’re really missing something.

LINDSAY: Again, there’s really nothing like the pride in the completion of your own work.

SCOTT: Yeah.

LINDSAY: Because, what do they say all the time? “Well, I don’t have any ideas.” Or “I can’t come up with something.” To actually learn that ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s the execution and the completion.

SCOTT: It’s sort of the final exam, isn’t it? You teach them on pre-written shows and then the final exam is, “All right, now, put one together on your own.”

LINDSAY: “Have fun!”

SCOTT: Yeah. “Enjoy!”

LINDSAY: “Enjoy!”

SCOTT: “Call me if I you need something but don’t expect any direct answers because that isn’t happening.”

LINDSAY: Ah! Awesome!

Scott, this has been a lovely talk. Again, that play is “Finishing Sentences.

I’m going to talk about it. I’m going to talk about it in the intro, don’t worry about it, and I just think that it’s been a lovely time talking to you today.

Thank you for taking some time out!

SCOTT: Pleasure to be here!

Thank you!

LINDSAY: Thank you, Scott!

Before we go, let’s do some THEATREFOLK NEWS.

Let’s talk about Scott’s play. Scott has a play with us called “Finishing Sentences” in our Theatrefolk catalogue and it is a fabulous character piece that looks at a common situation from the other side.

So, after being arrested for vandalizing a classmate’s car and perpetrating criminal harassment, Kendra serves her community service at a summer camp, looking after a frequently bullied kid.

Her journey through this surreal summer camp exposes Kendra to her own raw underbelly. Taking the perspective of the bully, the play forces us to consider the human side of the people we often dismiss.

Okay, that’s the description. I’m going to read two short monologues from the piece.

There’s one character who is the Camp Curmudgeon who always has a doowop group, singing behind him, for his monologues. If you have a student who just is an eschewer of scenery when it comes to pieces, this is something they could really sink their teeth into. So, here’s something from the Curmudgeon.

CURMUDGEON: How to cook the perfect s’more.

It starts with a stick. Not too long, not too thin, but it needs to bear the weight, so choose wisely.

Choose a marshmallow. Ask yourself a few questions. Is it puffy? In general, does it have a pleasant demeanor? Once you have married marshmallow to stick, approach the fire, but not too close. Burned marshmallows are for amateurs and quitters.

Take your time. Roll it carefully until all sides are a golden color, and the marshmallow is about ready to drip off the stick.

Lay it down gently upon its final resting place – Graham cracker and chocolate. Then, get good and comfy. Listen to the fire crackle and look at the stars above… and keep a napkin handy.

That’s the Curmudgeon.

Now, we’re going to hear from Kendra.

Kendra, who spends the play really trying to resist this whole notion that she has done anything wrong and that she has to look after this bullied kid who she does not want to look after and she just gets to a point where she’s been given chance after chance and the last person who was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe in her, he says to her that he’s done and she’s going to have to leave the camp. Basically, she’s going to have to go to jail for what she’s done and, for the first time, Kendra reveals the truth.

KENDRA: He was never going to love me.

Philip, my boyfriend. I didn’t want to see it. He was never going to love me, but I didn’t want to see it. from the beginning, I knew. It was different, but it felt the same. I don’t know. It was different, you know? I didn’t want to let him go – even though it was different than… different than dad.

It was completely different, but it felt the same, and you know I was always so mad at mom for letting him go without a fight. I thought she was weak and there was no way I would let myself be like that.

So, I did the only thing I knew how to do – bullied him to stay with me. But he loved himself too much to let me do that so he left me. He left me and went to her – Kelly. Yeah, Kelly, who didn’t have anything on me. I’m better looking than her. People like me more than her. But she had the one thing she was looking for that I don’t have – a heart – a big one.

Since I couldn’t punish him, I punished her. It’s what I do.

That is “Finishing Sentences.” Scott Giessler.

You can get a copy of “Finishing Sentences” by going to Theatrefolk.com or by clicking the link in the show notes which is Theatrefolk.com/episode175.

Are you doing one of our plays? We want to see rehearsal pictures.

Are you working on a monologue in the classroom? Take a picture. Send it to us!

Are you a member of the Drama Teacher Academy and you’re using an exercise? Take a 30-second video. Send it to us because we want to showcase you.

We want to brag about you and what you’re doing and we want everyone to know what you are doing.

So, where do you send all this? tfolk@theatrefolk.com.

Finally, where can you find this podcast? We post new episodes every second Tuesday at theatrefolk.com and on our Facebook page and Twitter. You can find us on youtube.com/theatrefolk and on the Stitcher app. You can subscribe to The Drama Teacher Podcast on iTunes. All you have to do is search for the word: “Theatrefolk.”

And that’s where we’re going to end. Take care, my friends. Take care.
Music credit: ”Ave” by Alex (feat. Morusque) is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

About the author

Lindsay Price

Leave a Comment