Sunday, September 24, 2023

Liberty High Drama posts a children’s masterpiece


Production quality was as spectacular as a shooting star for Liberty High School Drama Club’s online rendition of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Saturday evening.

Liberty High School production (school screenshot)

The one-act musical lasted about a half hour and had an attendance of about 100 people, plus or minus, according to YouTube’s “watching” indicator.

Performers were tiled on the screen during the larger production numbers and even during smaller conversations. There was no stage blocking or dance movement beyond standing in place and moving the upper body and arms. But for the first musical production many viewers have probably seen since last school year, it was a fun and fresh diversion of upbeat musical entertainment.

The musical is based on the beloved children’s book written by Jeff Brown.

Stanley Lambchop is an ordinary, everyday 10-year-old until the bulletin board on the wall above his bed comes loose, falls right on top of him, and flattens him so much that he can be stuffed in an envelope and mailed anywhere in the world.

Where does he go? Paris, of course, to the Louvre Museum, where a thief will strike again. Stanley saves the museum by putting his flat body into a painting frame and catching the thief. He then gets mailed back to his family home, and the musical concludes with his quick return to the three-dimensional realm.

The vocals were led by junior Lynsie Szalecki, who played the titular world traveler, and Anna Sadler, who played his brother Arthur, both from a room in their homes. Very natural in the virtual format, both played directly to the camera with a full range of motion and tunefully graced the screens in our living rooms with the child-like wonder that Mr Brown wrote into these characters.

“We at Liberty Drama decided to take advantage of this time to learn a new medium of art and give back to the youth of our community,” wrote the show’s director, Danielle Dickstein. “We knew way before the need for virtual theatre that we wanted to dive into the world of children’s theatre this fall. It is a great way to dig deeper into physical expression and exaggeration and work on techniques for engaging audiences that can be easily distracted (children!).”

Producing the half-hour video took quite a bit of work and the creative efforts of students and staff at the high school in Sykesville, Maryland.

“What you see in these videos is innovation by our student body as they navigated new ways to design without actually being together to produce the work,” she wrote. “It took many people to audio engineer, lay out videos, and edit each show, which was a result of a lot of trial and error from the production team, who are used to the nuances of live theatre. We could not be prouder of the creativity, dedication, and perseverance of this group of students.”

The show is expected to be available for a few more days on the drama club’s YouTube channel.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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