Theater Classes Jump at Chance to Direct

Photo by: Rachel Bybee
The audience sits in silence as Kiyanna Guerrero performs her piece.

Each year, Mrs. Katharine Baugher gives her theater classes the opportunity to direct a theater piece of their choice. This year, Mrs. Baugher gave out haiku for the students to read, allowing them to think of stories coming from the few lines of poetry. Students chose haiku that spoke to them and formed groups to start their pieces.

Many students interpreted the haiku differently, envisioning unique stories that inspired them to direct. The directors of each piece sat behind the scenes as their groups performed, their eyes aglow at the sight of the piece that was formerly in their heads now on stage.

The scenes varied based on the haiku. Some were deadly serious, making the audience’s hearts cry for the characters placed in terrible positions, while others made them laugh. Lexi Labott mentions, “[Directing] takes a lot more creativity. It’s more fun to be the one in charge. You have to figure out everyone’s strengths and utilize it instead of your own.” Delaney Novak adds, “It’s really good to cooperate with others. Even if there’s one director, it’s good to collaborate. It’s fun working with others, and I love having my vision be put on the stage. It’s really rewarding too.”

The students appreciated the chance to express themselves through directing actors, and thoroughly enjoyed the Mrs. Baugher’s prompt. Mrs. Baugher shared, “I have a passion for poetry, and have a huge collection of it. I was looking for new material, and the haiku is perfect for this because it’s short and brilliant. These haikus are a little bit different from the traditional haiku.”

Mrs. Baugher’s decision to allow the students to direct their own pieces began many years ago. Her goal is to teach the students through directing that they should not wait for people to tell them what to do. She has noticed the reward the students gain from directing and adds, “I think that actors become better actors if they see the point of view of the director. Letting actors seeing the overall picture contributes to their growth as an artist. It makes them better group members too. It helps them understand the collaborative process and helps them become collaborative directors.” Directing pieces was an incredible opportunity for the students and is a favorite prompt the students always love.