So, how is drama even remotely related to Classical Education. I am so glad you asked!
- For starters it's a fun way to make quality literature come alive. Sure, there is lots of crap lit brought to life through drama (I mean, seriously, check out most movies rated Pg13 or above), but we pick quality lit, of which there is an abundance.
- Drama engages many of your student's sensory receptors such as sight, sound and touch. The more sensory receptors that are engaged, the more learning takes place.
- Drama trains your brain to retain, a.k.a. memorization. There's not much else like the pressure of being on stage to force even a reluctant student to commit lines to memory. It also teaches how to memorize- repetition.
- Drama develops rhetoric skills. Rhetoric is about communication. Drama requires good communication- the ability to clearly articulate, to have a stage presence, to project ones voice, to get over ones own shyness, or being unnerved by the public spotlight or pressure. Public speaking is still a greater fear for most people than death and drama is a good way to inoculate ones students against that fear in a fun and engaging way.
We have found good scripts from Logos Press, Contemporary Drama Services, and other sources but by far the easiest way to get a script quickly and cheaply is to adapt a simple story on your own. We've used children's classics like Rumpelstiltskin, Aesop's Fables and more. Cub is determined that someday soon we'll be performing Beowulf, buy KB has her heart set on The Magician's Nephew- mainly cause she wants to perform Jadis! Last year we performed a play on Teresenstadt, doing a very small WWII unit study along the way while campaigning together on Friday's after co-op for Measure 11. The kid's understanding of religious and political freedom will never be the same. The combination of study, drama and political activism was a winning combo and worth all of the drive time and hours put into it.
How does drama fit into classical education? Perfectly. After all, the World's a Stage- so get performing on it!