Kentridge High School play teaches acceptance and love

The fall musical at Kentridge High School is meant to do more than just entertain the audience.

Kentridge High School is putting on

Kentridge High School is putting on

The fall musical at Kentridge High School is meant to do more than just entertain the audience.

“This play more than any other play I’ve done in high school, sends a message to the audience,” said Elizabeth Rodland, senior.”It tells our school and our community that there is no such thing as normal; that we need to look for the best in ourselves and make the most of the life we are given.”

“Side Show” uses a sad story to teach the importance of acceptance, humanity and love. It is the true account of the lives of Daisy and Violet Hilton, Siamese twins born in England in 1908.

The girls were sold by their mother to an enterprising woman who exploited the girls from birth.  Considered “freaks” from the time they were born and exposed to abuse, the women not only survived, but pushed hard to make their dream of performing on stage come true.

“The thing that really stuck out to me was how individual each woman was,” said Rodland, who plays Violet. “They were strong and had such big dreams, but it was hard for them to get what they wanted out of life because they were stuck together.”

Director Jenny Grajewski selected “Side Show” because she felt it would help students relate to each other better. In a survey conducted of students last spring, only 38 percent felt they were respected by their peers at school.

“In talking to kids about this disturbing statistic, I found that they truly did not understand that being the diverse school we are becoming is a gift and that everyone has the potential for being a valuable member of our community,” Grajewski said. “Kids were judging each other on the color of their skin, financial status, the clothes they wear and a multitude of other things.  I often hear kids talking about what is ‘normal;’well I ask that same question what is ‘normal?'”

While preparing for the show, the cast watched documentaries on American side shows and the different people that were part of that form of entertainment. The student actors also explored issues around the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and what it means to protect people who may be harmed in some way because of the way they were born.

“We all have been wearing shirts that say, ‘who will love me as I am?’ This gets the point across to students in our high school that we are all unique and there is a little bit of a freak in everyone,” Rodland said.

The serious subject of the play proved emotional for the cast at times.

“During rehearsal, there was a scene I did with my siamese twin and we both just got really caught up in it and started crying,” Rodland said. “I think we all just really believe in the script and what it represents.”

The cast of 25 students spent three hours on the weekdays at practice and up to 12 hours on the weekends. They made the hard work fun by doing warm up dances before rehearsal and going out to eat together after.

“I’ve done theatre since my freshman year and the reason I’ve continued to do it is because your cast mates become like your second family,” Rodland said. “You get so close to each other that you aren’t afraid to be your true self.”

The cast hopes the audience can experience the same bond.

“We just hope everyone leaves the show thinking, ‘everyone deserves to be loved,'” Rodland said.

 

If you go:

 

What:Side Show

 

When: Nov. 8, 10, 11, 12. Showtimes are 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday.

 

Where: Kentridge High School, located at 12430 SE 208th ST Kent, WA 98031.

 

Cost: $8 for general seating.

 

Tickets: go to http://www.kent.k12.wa.us/kr.


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