The Witches – What I Learned

A scene from The Witches. Scenic/lighting design by Lorne Kelley, costume design by Tania Ballve.

Hard to believe it’s been a whole week since performances of The Witches at Quincy Community Theatre.  I am so proud of the cast, crew, and volunteers who made this challenging show happen.  The Witches is a world full of puppets, magic, and special effects – and I’m so grateful for the wonderful team who brought it to life.  New photos have been added to the Photo slideshow and to the Flickr stream.

Before our last show, I tried to describe to the student actors what I liked about this story.    I’ve loved Roald Dahl books since I was a kid.  One of my favorite aspects of those books was how each of them features a seemingly ordinary protagonist.  Charlie Bucket, Matilda, James of Giant Peach fame, and the Boy in The Witches are quiet, smart, love to read, and love the people who are important to them.  They seem like any other kids, but they have the potential to change the world.

To me, each of my students could be a Dahl protagonist.  They each have the potential to change the world.  I’m so proud to be their teacher and to watch that potential unfold.  I hope they believed me when I told them that last week.

Working on The Witches also made me think about the way Dahl uses the adult characters in his stories.  Some, like Grandmother, are trusted resources who children know they can turn to in times of trouble.  Some, like the witches themselves, leave no question about their bad intentions.

But to me, the scariest character types are ones like Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins.  They’re people in authority, but are so wrapped up in themselves they miss out on important details – especially ones that pertain to their children.  They don’t intend to be bad influences; it’s just a result of their inaction.

Doing this play was a reminder that, as adults, we have a choice to make regarding which of those characters we bring into young people’s lives.  I hope to be an adult like Grandmother, but that takes effort and focus.  I pledge to continue that work, again and again, for as long as my students need it.

At QCT, fall classes start this week, and we’re taking audition appointments for our next show – The Addams Family: School Edition.  Always something exciting going on.  It’s going to be a great fall.

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