Literacy Through the Arts – “The Paper Bag Princess”

By Intern, Brennan O’Rourke

February 19, 2015

The excited voices of children ring out as they await their chance to perform onstage, making a lasting impression on my experiences with Arts For All. This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of assisting Lena Moy-Borgen with her first graders performance of the Paper Bag Princess in our Literacy Through the Arts program. The children worked to put on a fabulous production by creating their own sets and costumes while memorizing lines and performing in front of an audience of their peers.

The day began with a happy commotion, as the students were ready to perform what they had been practicing for weeks. The excitement in the air was palpable. The princesses got a chance to try on their paper bags, which caused a great deal of laughter as they slid the bags over their tiny bodies. The dragons put on their masks and assumed their characters. They had confidence and poise. The students took the stage one time for a final dress rehearsal before the performance to ensure that their show was engrained in their minds.

As I watched the dress rehearsal, I was impressed with their overall control and understanding of the piece that they were putting on. They stunned me with their excellence. After finishing the final dress rehearsal, it was time for the performance.

Backstage a group of girls became extremely giddy as the audience trickled into the auditorium. The cast grew anxious in anticipation of the performance.

What a mighty performance they put on! The princesses were stellar. They delivered their lines with strength and confidence, filling the entire theatre with sound. The dragons showed the audience a fierce intensity as they burned down the castle and acted their hearts out. We were impressed with how every student could be heard in the production. Not a single line passed that was too quiet — what an achievement!

The students benefited a great deal from this performance. Not only did they gain some self-confidence along the way, but they also learned verbal and reading skills as they memorized their lines for this performance. My experience with the LTA first graders was one that I will cherish forever.

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