February 7, 2024
Performing Arts Students Employ Interdisciplinary Studies for Spring Production of Bright Star
When enjoying a Prince Fine Arts production, audiences can easily assume the amount of work, preparation, and rehearsal necessary for a quality performance. However, audiences may not realize there is an entire academic process in which Prince students participate before they ever begin to learn lines, music, or choreography or embark on set construction or costume design.
An academic approach to performing arts.
This academic approach involves the use of dramaturgy, a process by which students methodically study dramatic composition and the corresponding theatrical representation. Through this process, students can understand the historical context of a work as well as spiritual, political, cultural, and relational themes relevant to the story. Students also analyze character development and musical genres and any relevant symbolism.
This valuable interdisciplinary approach has been used for this year’s high school spring production of Bright Star. Written and composed by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell and inspired by a true story, Bright Star is set in both the 1920s and 1940s in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina. The play tells the story of one woman at two different points in her life and weaves the themes of love, loss, and redemption as it recounts the story of an unplanned teenage pregnancy, an adoption, and a reunion.
As part of their study, students made a glossary of unfamiliar terms, compared the two time periods of the plot, analyzed the historical significance of the railroad, learned the history and musical elements of bluegrass music, completed an analysis of the characters, and studied the backgrounds of the writers. In addition, students made cultural and local applications with a visit from the leaders of the Athens Pregnancy Center in which they learned of the ways that Christians can support women who are dealing with the difficulties of an unplanned pregnancy and the value and sanctity of human life.
Prince Fine Arts Director LaMurl Morris explains the value of dramaturgy for both the production itself and a student’s overall learning experience. “Students are able to portray the story authentically, but I also love it when our fine arts students come from history class and tell me they understood the time period because of something we have studied in performing arts.”
A local partnership.
As a result of their learning experience and to raise awareness for the need to support women and their unborn babies, the Prince Fine Arts production of Bright Star is partnering with the Athens Pregnancy Center. Regular admission tickets are available for $15. However, those who wish to support the APC with their attendance may purchase a “Show and Dessert” ticket for $30.
Showtimes are Thursday, February 29th, and Friday, March 1st at 7:00 pm and Saturday, March 2nd at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm in The Prince Avenue Baptist Church Tabernacle.
*Please note: The high school production of Bright Star is a redemptive story containing mature topics that include a teenage pregnancy and the use of alcohol. The play is recommended for students in grades nine through twelve.