An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by John A. '20

John A. '20 in 2018 Lakeside production "The Crucible."

After four years of theater at Lakeside, from frantic memorizations of monologues for drama class to late-night play rehearsals and exhilarating performances, I know I’ve found a community to call my own. It spans from the students that dream of Broadway to underclassmen simply trying to get their arts requirement finished, all bonded by the vulnerability and courage it takes to get on stage and perform. And every year the drama retreat brings this diverse community together to dive into three distinct, theatrical disciplines where we, the students, can strengthen friendships, form new ones, and broaden our artistic horizons. 

This year’s retreat started with some energizing group warm-up games led by the seniors and before I knew it, I was at my first class of the day: movement. Since I consider myself about the furthest thing from a trained dancer, the word movement conjures images of sweat and failed pirouettes in my mind. Luckily for me, our class focused more on the integration of movement into our acting and character work through Laban movement analysis, a topic I had little to no experience with beforehand. We dove into the eight efforts of this discipline, which categorize and interpret human movement, and soon those efforts were informing short scenes that we created on the spot as we tested out different ways to drive character. Was I an expert on this specific technique at the end of our session? Absolutely not! But I had immersed myself in the material, and I tried to take home everything I learned in that short time.

With only one day together, and an hour and a half per creative session, it’s clear that our work barely scratched the surface of topics that professionals spend their whole lives learning. So, the only functional way to grow and learn is to dive head first into each activity, welcoming the challenges and the unknown, and daring to be wrong. This bravery is never easy, but it’s possible when I’m surrounded by similarly passionate and open-minded people, each doing their best to learn. As in previous years I was left with an increased appreciation for this close-knit community, made a little more significant by this being my final chance to learn, play, and grow through the drama retreats. The day was a manifestation of all the effort, heart, time, and energy that drama students pour into their work inside and outside of school, and I will always be grateful that I got to participate in and experience it firsthand.