After several weeks of working with small-scale styrofoam and cardboard models, students in the Theatre Arts class at Martensville High School (MHS) are finally getting down to brass tacks.
The students are building a full-scale wooden set of a 19th century parlor, complete with staircase and a bedroom loft that reaches almost as high as the theatre’s 30-foot ceiling.
The set is being built on-site in the high school’s theatre. In a classroom on the school’s second floor, another group of Theatre Arts students are busy designing and sewing costumes.
It’s all in preparation for the MHS drama club’s production of Louisa May Alcott’s classic, ‘Little Women.’ The play is slated to be performed at the end of January or early February.
Theatre Arts teacher Micah Robinson, who is also director of the play, said the set is one of the more ambitious designs in recent years.
“We spent about four weeks planning it, and trying to come up with a design,” said Robinson. “Now we’re translating that design into reality.”
Robinson said while many of the students have experience working with tools from their industrial arts classes, others are brand new to the game.
“The first couple of classes we went over the ground rules for safety,” said Robinson. “They learned how to use a compound mitre saw with a slide so that they don’t take their fingers off when they go to use it.
“So far, so good.”
While the MHS drama club is an extracurricular activity, and the actors who fill the roles in the production are not doing it for academic credit, the Theatre Arts class is part of the school’s curriculum. In the class, students study theatre set design, stage lighting and sound, costumes and other aspects of the craft. Many of the students in the class volunteer in a technical role with the MHS annual stage production.
Robinson said the costume design and production is handled by Educational Associate Bev Zunti.
“Shes amazing when it comes to that stuff,” said Robinson. “She can sew costumes in no time flat with her eyes closed.”
Robinson said students are encouraged to learn both set construction and costume design, but they can focus on one aspect in the lead-up to the stage play.
He said he expects the set to be completed by mid-December.
“I want it to be done by then so I can have all the rehearsals after Christmas done on a finished set on the theatre stage,” said Robinson. “That’s the goal.”