Sandy Spring Friends School

 

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SSFS Community Play Returns in 2024!

SSFS Community Play Returns in 2024!
2024 Community Play - Metamorphoses

Sandy Spring Friends School’s (SSFS) Community Play is back after a hiatus due to the pandemic! Four years after its last full staging, this longstanding, hard-working tradition that is done only through wide-spread involvement from so many areas of our school community, combines our robust arts programming with the connected, inclusive spirit of the School, drawing on our founding history of radical optimism, genuine belonging and courageous risk-taking.

The 2024 production will be Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman, with its engaging stories derived from Ancient Rome and a focus on the theme of change. The play is suitable for audiences aged 7 and up, and performances will be held at 7:00 PM in the PAC on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20.

What is the history of the Community Play? Who has been a part of the play in the past?

The Community Play, a beloved SSFS tradition for 22 years, takes pride in bringing together the entire community to build a collective, enriching theater experience. Rooted in the creative vision of former SSFS drama faculty member Bruce Evans, this tradition began with our first production in 1996, To Kill a Mockingbird, and has provided a platform for the whole community (students, parents, faculty, alumni, and more!) to work together and dive into meaningful pieces of drama and literature.

Over the years, the play has featured dynamic themes and topics that have honored our diverse community.  Some of the selected plays highlighted a small cast of students in Upper School and included older members from our extended community, aiming to deliver impactful narratives to a mature audience (i.e, Foxfire [2000] discussed the trials of urban development and land ownership, while Clybourne Park [2006] tackled issues such as racism and gentrification). In other instances, the plays selected were large ensemble productions designed to engage and entertain audience members of all ages (i.e., Fiddler on the Roof [2014] and The Sound of Music [2018] featured students from every division, as well as parents, alumni, and other friends of the School).

Who can participate in the Community Play this year?

Everyone in the community can contribute in many ways to creating the Community Play this year, including current parents/guardians, students, alumni, faculty/staff, and trustees. Through this beloved tradition, members of the Sandy Spring Friends School community come together in a collaborative effort to stage an annual show in which many members from our community are involved. As we noted, while there is a wide range of involvement from our community, each production can have its own parameters in terms of age boundaries for the staging of it, based on the title chosen. We do our best to choose titles that are relevant and will have a broad appeal and appropriateness from our Lower School students all the way to our oldest alums.

This year, auditions for performance-based roles were open to 4th-12th-grade SSFS students. This age-specific focus simplifies casting, enhances rehearsal efficiency, and capitalizes on the students’ maturity level for a more profound engagement with the script, thereby optimizing educational and performance benefits. Auditions are also open to current SSFS faculty/staff, parents/guardians of SSFS students, and SSFS Trustees. Auditions were held on December 9 and 10, 2023.

As our first Community Play in years, this age parameter helps to ensure a manageable production for us. We have had Community Plays that called on our older actors in this way before, and, we look forward to some future Community Plays that will have students as young as kindergarten!

Rest assured, this collectively-minded production isn’t powered only by actors! From sets to costuming, front-of-house support to stage management, there is a need for a wide range of people with an even wider range of talents and abilities. All ages are invited to help with the production of the play as well as helping with publicity, hospitality, and ushering.

What is the play, and who is the target audience?

Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman (not to be confused with Metamorphosis by Kafka!) is a collection of stories from Ancient Rome told from a distinctly modern point of view. Zimmerman used both classical and modern texts to create a show that emphasizes ensemble storytelling, different perspectives, and movement.

With source material from Ovid to Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet), the Broadway production made a pretty big splash when it premiered and was nominated for 3 Tony Awards, including Best Play, and won Best Direction of a Play. Perhaps obviously, Metamorphoses is about change–how people can change dramatically because of new circumstances, opportunities, or challenges, but just as often simply because of a new point of view. The show was selected for this year’s Community Play because it truly speaks to our current times. Its themes of transformation echo the many changes we've all faced recently due to the global pandemic and other events. Plus, the flexible casting possibilities of the play makes it just right for our first production after a long break. Unlike other plays and musicals, it can be successfully staged with a relatively small cast or expanded to accommodate a larger ensemble, making it adaptable to the varying levels of interest we could expect as we tentatively step towards resuming production. Let's come together as a community, make sense of these changing times through our beloved theater, and celebrate our shared ability to adapt and bounce back!

The show's content is appropriate for audience members aged 7 and up.

How do I sign up?

Participating in the Community Play at SSFS is as easy as 1-2-3! Simply follow the steps below to sign up:

  1. Decide how you'd like to participate: Although the acting parts have been assigned,  we have various supporting roles available, from behind-the-scenes work such as publicity and production to front-of-house support.
  2. Fill Out the Form: An online form is available for you to express your interest and provide more information about how you'd like to participate. The form helps us get to know more about you and where your skills and interests might best contribute to the play. Remember, the Community Play at SSFS is a community endeavor, and we appreciate your commitment to this event!

Volunteer and support this year's Community Play!

Sign Up Today

 

Who is the production team for this year’s Community Play?

We are so thankful to the dynamic and highly skilled production team of the 2024 Community Play, which includes our very own faculty! Michelle Puhl-Price P ’11, ’15, ’17, ’21, Arts Department Head, enthusiastically introduced the team as follows:

  • Luc Hotaling, Director (Upper and Middle School Drama Faculty, MS Humanities Faculty, 8th Grade Advisor, and Dorm Affiliate) | “Luc is extremely adept at organizing, planning, and figuring out how best to work with different people. He’s an onion: you peel back layer after wonderful layer and continually find hidden talents, as well as a wonderful sense of humor, dedication, and a willingness to take on just about anything!”
  • Christian Ely - P ’27, Production Manager (Upper School Theater Faculty, Performing Arts Center Manager) | “Christian is in charge of the use and care of everything related to our Performing Arts Center, and we’re very lucky to have him. Having worked on countless productions—including professional—Christian’s knowledge of all things theater is profound, and he helps us take full advantage of our terrific—and relatively new—facilities.”
  • Dana Scott - P ’35, Producer (Upper School Performing Arts Faculty - Music) | “Dana is a wonderful musician, but more importantly, she brings out the best in kids. Outside of her role at SSFS, she works with the Kennedy Center and other similar organizations, and she brings that depth of experience to her role as Community Play Producer, providing communications and other support.”

Who do I go to if I have questions?

If you have a question about the production or the process, don't hesitate to get in touch with the play’s Producer, Dana Scott at dana.scott@ssfs.org. She'll be more than happy to guide you through.

For any other inquiries about the Community Play, we've set up an email, communityplay@ssfs.org, to assist you.

We look forward to staging a one of a kind production that can only be done with the help of many hands for the enjoyment of many more!

2020 Community Play - Matilda

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