For Proctor’s drama department, it has been exactly one year since students last took the stage. With the annual spring musical canceled due to Covid-19 last spring, director Jen Summers is thrilled her company will produce Peter and the Star Catcher this week for the community. An extended production run over four nights this week has provided the cast and crew the invaluable feedback of a live audience, something every performer and lover of the performing arts has missed over the past year.
In a term that bridged remote learning, on-campus quarantine, and in-person instruction, Proctor’s Arts Department has shown the entire community what perseverance looks like. On Friday evening, the Dance Team and Jazz/Rock Ensemble shared their talents with the community in back-to-back performances, and while rehearsal time was roughly half of what it would have been during a “normal” term, the students shone as brightly as the full moon over campus this weekend.
It’s one of the corners of the school where history is visible, where narrative takes concrete form. It’s behind the thick curtains of the stage, behind a wall with a huge clattering garage door, behind the mystery darkness of the back stage. Penetrate far enough and you step into the scene shop, where the power tools are racked, the trays of screws and lag bolts stack up, the paint brushes and rollers hang over an industrial sink. Pry bars, levels, caulking guns, miter saw, plywood, doorknobs, castors, tape measures, battery chargers, clamps, step ladders surround the visitor. It’s a bright, busy space. It smells of sawdust and paint and dreams.
Never has the creation of art been more important in our students’ lives. When our students stepped into the studio, the wood shop, the forge, or on the stage, they shed the invisible weight of a global pandemic and simply immersed themselves in the healing process of creating art. Today, we share student work in a Virtual End of Term Art Show at the link below.
Journalism student Sophie Lyras '21 published the following interviews with graduating seniors pursuing the arts in college in the final edition of The Hornet's Nest, Proctor's student newspaper, at the end of May. Each graduating class from Proctor possesses a unique personality, fueled by their diverse passions and talents. For the six graduates interviewed below, their experiences with the arts at Proctor laid a foundation for future studies and a lifetime of enjoyment through the arts. Thank you, Sophie, for sharing these interviews with us!
Most afternoon activities at Proctor afford regular opportunities for public performances; athletic teams showcase their progress every Wednesday and Saturday. For Proctor’s drama department, the countless hours of memorizing lines, rehearsing, building and rebuilding an intricate set, the beautiful mess of group dynamics and stress of pre-show nerves culminate in two performances at the end of the Winter Term.
What if we, as an imperfect society, sought justice for the oppressed with the same conviction that those in power seek to stay in power? What if we took time to honestly reconcile the racism and oppression on which America was built? What if we, as individuals, made the conscious decision to choose love in our daily decisions? Would we accelerate the slow bending arch of history toward justice that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. promised more than fifty years ago?