Now that is a play

North Bergen High School put on Alien as their school play. I am kind of blown away — amazing sets, all from recycled materials, cool costumes, scary story. The kids must have lusted to get a part. Click on the tweet to see more, people were posting video clips.

I am reminded that our Morris Area High School had a fantastic theater department when my two youngest were attending. They put on two plays a year, not of SF spectacles, but one was always a musical, and these kids would just stun you with their talent and enthusiasm. Connlann and Skatje were both deeply involved in the shows — Connlann was a performer, Skatje was into theater tech — and they were so inspired by the work.

Then the school district, incomprehensibly, killed the program and let the teacher who was so good at these things go. That was so stupid and short-sighted. There is such an ignorant focus on just teaching what will help the kids get a job (and STEM benefits from that, unfortunately — so many young people thinking they should do science, engineering, or medicine for all the wrong reasons) that they kill the dreams…and it’s the dream that carries people forward.


  1. cartomancer says

    As Aristophanes puts into the mouth of Aeschylus in his Frogs, children have teachers to guide them, adults have playwrights.

  2. Artor says

    I wish I had gotten some Drama training in school. It’s a glaring lack in my education, and I find myself missing it pretty regularly.

  3. says

    I did! I was in the drama club, we did a few short plays that we toured to local elementary schools. I had fun, but I mainly learned that I’m not an actor.

  4. Usernames! 🦑 says

    The next time someone says arts are useless, remind them Netflix, Hulu and of course, the movies are all arts.

    Would they be happy with shuttering those things? Maybe also eliminating fiction literature?

    I suppose the denizens of Gault’s Gulch have no entertainment except screwing each other.

  5. David Utidjian says

    We had a well funded (before Prop. 13 in CA) performing arts department. I was not interested in the department at the time… but I had several girlfriends over the years that were part of it. The high school put out two major productions each year and a few smaller ones.
    None of the productions that I went to at my high school were as ambitious as this one. Very well done. Bravo!

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    Mike Smith @5: I could see an argument for misandry (ambulatory penises going about wreaking havoc). Why is it specifically homophobic?

  7. leerudolph says

    PS: ” I mainly learned that I’m not an actor.” Ah, but you’re an impresario, with a whole troupe of spiders!

  8. zoniedude says

    Most astute schools focus on STEAM rather than STEM, the A being arts. The reason is that history shows creativity is enhanced by the arts, which advances science. Also, the arts teach real observational skills which are necessary for science. For example, you have to learn to see before you can learn to draw because too many people overlook what is actually there to be seen.

  9. says

    First off, “misandry” doesn’t exist outside of MRA fantasies.

    And second, “Alien”? IT’S A BIG FUCKING RAPE METAPHOR. It’s supposed to make you uncomfortable!

  10. consciousness razor says

    Most astute schools focus on STEAM rather than STEM, the A being arts.

    One out of five isn’t so bad I guess. But … things like history and philosophy are supposed to be “arts”?
    It’s also a bit weird that the arts themselves involve S,T,E and M. Seems like the wrong way to represent how things actually work. But whatever.

    The reason is that history shows creativity is enhanced by the arts, which advances science.

    Maybe you should ask people in the arts why their work matters. I don’t give a shit whether it advances science. Scientists can judge their own fucking work by that standard. It would be another story, if they were paying us to help them do their jobs. But I did not sign any agreement to that effect and haven’t received any such payments.

  11. laurian says

    I dunno. As a theater tech I love intricate sets but the truth is the best live theater has the least gimmicks.

  12. Onamission5 says

    Jeeze, all my high school did for our big end of year play was a production of Anything Goes. We too built our own sets and costumed ourselves but nothing about our play was remotely that awesome. WTG North Bergen!

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Creative young kids will be allright, se example below
    -Here is a fan-based anime parody. with some proper monster killers.
    The wimpy Twlilight-esque Edward did not last more than 20 seconds (I timed it)!
    Hellsing Ultimate Abridged Episodes 1-3

  14. says

    @ Rob

    The xenomorph’s lifecycle is intentionally designed to trigger fear of homosexual rape/contact in straight male viewers. Scott and the designers have said as much. It’s why, among other things, the facehugger rams something down men’s throats.

    The film was developed in 78ish which just so happened to be when a Harvey Milk assumed office and was assassinated. Oh in the year it was released there was the largest (to that point) LG march on Washington. I might read this more extreme than most people but Alien is basically gay panic contextualized in sci-fi. It is why this: is so funny

  15. DanDare says

    Its the dream that carries us forward for sure. Which is why I don’t rail against people that want to try to get humans to mars. The human civilisation project can deal with practicalities and dreams simultaneously.

  16. Kevin Karplus says

    STEM and theater are not conflicting interest. My son has been into both for about 18 years. He just finished his MS in computer science last week, and he has been acting in at least one play each year in college (quite a step down from the 15 performances he was involved in his last year of high school—I don’t think he did more than 3 productions a year in college).

    Although he did do performances with school groups, his main theater work from ages 5 to 18 was with a community children’s theater group (now called West Performing Arts), which does really amazing work.

    Even though our son has aged out (many of his cohort now work as teachers for West), my wife and I still go to see productions by the West Ensemble Players (the invitation-only troupe of the best teen actors). Their most recent production was Gross Indecency: the Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. (They’re doing an Oscar Wilde play in the spring: Lady WIndermere’s Fan.)