On Friday, January 25 and Saturday, January 26, girls from grades 5-8 put on the show James and the Giant Peach. The performance was great from the audience’s point of view, but here is the view of the performers and Mrs. Gifis, the choreographer of the show.
Emilia (Spiker): When I found out I would play Spiker, I was so excited. I was in my bedroom sitting on my bed, and I was looking at the Google sheet. I thought that this couldn’t be. I fell to the floor screaming – I was so excited! Then I told my mom and we cried happy tears! It was a crazy, wonderful experience.
Emilia: The hardest part is making people laugh and believe the character. It was also hard to slow down.
Skylar (James): When I found out I would be James was ecstatic! I was in shock, I fell on the floor. Then I went to tell my dad and sister – they both screamed. The day of the play I kept on thinking about it, like overthinking the play. I was also thinking about the timing, just hoping that I would get the timing alright.
Catie: I loved the sense of community. Everyone worked so hard, I was sure it was going to be great. You have to balance the team. It’s not just about you, it’s about the cast and the crew. It is so important to understand that you are part of a bigger whole and have to work together and let go of yourself.
Catie: Both shows, on Friday and on Saturday, were very spectacular and went well. Everyone worked so hard that I was confident we were going to do well. Whether you saw it as good or bad, the performance was great because of the work and passion put into it. What really made the show is that fact that everyone had fun! There were a few mistakes but we worked as a team, and it all worked out.
Avery: I really enjoy being able to dance with a group, where you can all work together to create something really cool that you couldn’t do with only a few people. I also like that when we’re in the musical together we can meet people in different grades. And I like that we can work with each other and rehearse for a long time, and it all comes together to make a great show in the end!
Avery: The day of the play I was really nervous and excited. We were all trying not to sing or talk too much, and then right before the show we were all warming up like crazy!
Genny (Sponge): I freaked out when I found out that I was Sponge! I started to cry, so I FaceTimed Emilia, and when we realized we were playing the aunts together, we both cried.
What was your favorite song from the play? Genny: This is a hard question, because the music was so good. I think my favorite song would be, ‘Everywhere That You Are,’ because the harmony was so good and pretty.
Genny: On Saturday I was craving a pink drink, while I was really nervous. I was also really sad that this would be our last time performing James and the Giant Peach.
Ms. Gifis(Choreography): As the choreographer, I was most excited to create the movement with and for my students. The best part of working on shows for me is that I get to tap into the creative side of my brain and create movement that tells a story. What is even more exciting though, is engaging with my students and having them help me in that process. It is so incredible to brainstorm movement pieces together. I get to be a part of this really special and creative work. Also, I love watching my students in the process of learning and doing the choreography. It is always so remarkable to me to see the improvement, to see the learning, and to see the confidence that develops in students throughout this work.
When I saw the run through of the show for the first time, it was hard for me not to focus on the areas where we needed to improve and fix things. When you put your whole heart into a process like this, you want it to be the very best that it can be. Working on the show, my students always know that getting a compliment from me is hard to do. Sometimes I feel guilty about this, but I think it is so important to have high expectations so that we all have something to reach for, to better ourselves, and to better the stories we tell for others. I believe that the cast worked incredibly hard to fix all those little mistakes, and they really, really impressed me on their opening day! And then, of course, they did receive many compliments from me!!
I am just so grateful to get to work with such talented and passionate students. I so enjoyed watching the process from rehearsals in the dance studio to peeking behind the curtain during the performance. Also, the crew in this show was one of the best we have ever had! Thank you to all for doing your very best work!
As you can see the cast was hard-working, passionate, and extremely talented. Big thanks to everyone in the play for putting on such a fabulous performance!