This past Thursday, fourth graders from Sally K. Ride Elementary were able to perform their original monologues on our Historic Stage. These students were a part of OTC’s My Monologue program, a six-week course where our teaching artists visit local fourth grade classrooms to blend essential performance skills with the school’s curriculum. I sat down with Hannah Ensign, our education administration apprentice, to hear more about the My Monologue program.
What is your involvement in the program?
During this process, I’ve spent time at Sally K. Ride Elementary assisting students in the classroom, helping them with their monologues and ensuring that they continuously understand the skills we are teaching them. On the administration side of things, I helped our Arts Integration Manager, Melynda Wintrol, with logistics of the monologue performance.
Can you tell me about how the program is structured?
The program begins with learning basic theatre skills and activities that encourage collaboration. We then move on to the research phase where the students focus on constructing their monologues based upon what the subject matter is. Afterwards, the writing process begins. We then spend some sessions writing and revising the pieces, and then the students rehearse their monologues in class before they perform on our stage.
What is the subject matter/topics of the different monologues?
The teaching artist and the teacher of that school choose a curricular tie in to be the basis of the students’ research. It can be anything ranging from something they are learning about in class to a school wide initiative. For Sally K. Ride students, this meant that they were researching and writing about the Be Well 365 initiative that Montgomery County public schools focus on. Be Well 365 promotes a healthy mind, body, and spirit in students so that they become better members within the community. Some subtopics within this are mental and emotional health, trauma-informed practices, and character education and empathy. These students then would choose an idea or theme within this initiative to center their monologue around.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the program?
This is a process driven program so it really makes sure that the students have the best experience possible. It’s also a good stepping stone towards bigger collaborative projects such as the Our Play program designed for fifth-graders. In this program, students work together as an ensemble to create an entire original production.