Student Journalist, FCHS
“To be, or not to be? ... that is the question.”
This quote is arguably one of theater’s most familiar lines, and at Fairfield Central High School, we have been given the opportunity to be, to question, and to immerse ourselves in the world of theater this year.
I remember wanting to take the drama class during my freshman year, but the program had a pause for a few years due to former theater/drama teacher, Ms. Julianne Neal being promoted to the Visual and Fine Arts Coordinator for the district -- which didn't allow her the in-class time to be a teacher full-time. Ms. Neal has since retired, and I am excited that the program is back!
Our new theater teacher is Ms. Kalaylah Chisolm. She was born and reared in Hilton Head, South Carolina and joined the FCHS family in January. In her youngest years, she was active in the band. Her interest in theater began during her junior year of high school.
Ms. Chisolm earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theater from Winthrop University and recently graduated with a Master’s degree in teaching.
"It was really challenging because this was a new school for me," she said, "and I felt as if I was trying to learn about the school on top of being a student still in school myself. It was a lot. However, my students have been great and they make it very rewarding."
Ms. Chisolm also explained that one of the most challenging things is that she teaches seniors, so she won't get to put their amazing talents on display next school year. Even more, one of her classes only has two students while another has 14.
"Balancing and planning how to teach very few students about theater has definitely put me to the test, but I've figured out how to work it flawlessly now," Ms. Chisolm said.
On a personal note, I've really enjoyed how much I've learned about theater -- even the difference between 'theater' and 'theatre.' This semester has allowed me explore the history of theater, pantomime, monologues, theatrical hierarchy, stage composition, and improvisation. But wait, there more: script analysis, character analysis, theater etiquette, critiquing plays and musicals, playwriting, devised theater, and our most recent learning experience -- stage makeup!
The different types of makeup we have worked on are animals, cuts and bruises, and old age makeup. Of the three, old age was the most difficult, but creating cuts and bruises was the most exciting to do. Learning how to do stage makeup
is essential for actors/actresses because they may be chosen for a role in which stage makeup it needed. In a general sense, stage makeup is often used to create visual stereotypes or clichés that will be readily understood by the audience. It plays a vital role in the drama, character creation, and visual aesthetic of the playwright.
As Ms. Chisolm mentioned, I am a senior, so I wish I could have gotten time to do more; yet, I am very grateful for what I have learned and thankful to have experienced an amazingly, energetic teacher like Ms. Chisolm.