Wednesday, April 3, 2013
It was different from any writing she had done.
Goose Creek High School junior Megan Montgomery spent countless late nights composing what would become her first play, “Falling Into Place.”
Falling Into Place began when GCHS drama instructor Dorothy Smith presented students with a premise, and asked them to fill in the details.
“It was a challenge,” Montgomery said. “It was a lot to take into consideration.”
Students were given limited information: A couple has split up and must use a mediator in the custody battle over who gets to keep which memory. “Memories are represented by items and pieces of paper,” Montgomery said. “It's like that one song that reminds you for that boyfriend or girlfriend.”
“Once they give up the memory it's gone,” creative writing instructor Nick Geary said.
Montgomery said some memories were happy, and some weren't. The young writer used flashback to tell the story.
“The scenes I'm most proud of are the funny ones,” Montgomery said. “They are hard to write.”
“Some of the characters' parents are comic relief,” Geary said.
Geary said Montgomery is the student who rose to the occasion to write the play.
In the past few weeks drama and music students composed songs for the musical and are rehearsing scenes.
All students and teachers involved in the production are part of Berkeley Center For the Arts (BCA), a special “school within a school” academy at GCHS that rising ninth graders throughout the Berkeley County School District can test into and audition for to pick an area of emphasis that they focus their studies on in the next four years.
“We had a lot of different eyes over it,” Geary said. “Sometimes her classmates would devise and edit scenes. The drama teacher and students would give feedback.”
“I had a picture of how the characters looked in my head,” Montgomery said. “I go to all their rehearsals. It's a lot different how it looks on stage than on paper . . . the way the actors do the motions.
“The cast is huge. I learned a lot about what they do in the process. The songwriters take emotion from these little lines in the play. They wrote most of the songs outside class.”
“This is what BCA is all about,” Geary said. “All their talents – writing, music – you get a glimpse of their discipline. They're on the line.”
“It gives students a sense of self and community,” Berkeley County School District Fine Arts Coordinator Kathy Clark said. “The home students have together is important.”
“It gave those talented arts kids a home and a way to flourish,” Geary said.
The performance is 90 minutes. Montgomery said the play was 100 pages but was edited down to 83.
Montgomery has taken two creative writing classes and is currently enrolled in Geary's poetry classes.
“Poetry to me is abstract,” she said. “Here I had to think I was writing for an audience rather than myself. It was like separating the two.”
“They have me for two classes a year for four years,” Geary said of the writing students. “Here we have 10 writing classes. We have a great creative writing community. When you talk about getting ready for college, reading and writing is everything.
“Kids who are involved in art end up scoring higher on exams. We've seen that in our seniors.”
Students can only apply for BCA as incoming freshmen. There are 15 students selected for each discipline: creative writing, theatre, wind and percussion, stringed instruments, visual art, vocal music and dance.
The performances are April 26 and 27 at 7 p.m. at GCHS.