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My New Family
Edit by. Grace Choi | Published. 2018.01.10 18:43 | Count : 321
Within the high school department in Korea International School, KIS Phoenix Theatre has one of the most talented actors, a mother like teacher, supportive stage managers, and hardworking crew members. Every school year, theatre presents two productions in each semester, burning the candle at both ends every time. The most recent play was during the fall of 2017, titled In Our Own Backyard. This play carried an unfamiliar theme compared to the productions so far, with a heavy topic of bullying. Despite the short amount of time to organize this play and for the actors to familiarize their scripts, the theatre department had invested limitless efforts and time to make it the best for everyone.
[Fall Play In Our Own Backyard Poster]
As a freshman myself, new to the high school of Korea International School, I had many curiosities of how the upperclassmen had prepared for the most compelling plays and musicals in the past years. Even though most people consider the spotlight is shining on the actors, I wondered how much work it would require for the backstage crew to make the productions successful so far. I was always amazed by the quality of the sets, costumes, makeup, props, etc., and as a student who enjoys teamwork, these interests made me consider joining the backstage crew since my middle school years. Therefore, when the time came, I have decided to join the crew for this fall play. There were many trustworthy upperclassmen to depend on whenever I needed help and Ms. Cuellar, one of the most warmhearted teachers in the whole school, is the organizer of the whole Theatre Department; I was felt comfortable to join the theatre crew.
On the first day of our rehearsal, I was assigned for a crew called “Front of House”. As a Front of House member, I was responsible for attending rehearsal more often than the other crew members and making sure all the work is finished as quickly as possible due to the short amount of time we had. Every day after school, I would have to be present in the family room which is one of our workspaces, where most announcements and meetings are held in.
One huge role the Front of House crew was in charge of was organizing the “Blue Ribbon Month Campaign”. Since the play was based on a heavy topic of school bullying, the theatre department has held a campaign for the whole school to participate in to make aware how bullying should be taken in a serious manner and to prevent this from happening in the future. For a whole month, there would be assigned weeks such as “Bring on the Love Week” and “#My Door is Always Open Week” and we would share the blue ribbon pins we made to students and staff in order to bring awareness and promote this campaign. As an active member of this movement, the Front of House members and I have made posters and calendars that represent this campaign. We have also visited advisory classes and hosted activities where students were supposed to reflect on questions related to this topic and to write kind letters to each other.
[In Our Own Backyard After party]
When the date of show approached us, we stayed after school until late afternoon every school day and came during the weekends as well and worked for hours. Ms. Cuellar also hosted a lock-in for the actors and crew members, in which we built our relationship tight enough, so that we were able to call all the theatre members, our family. By attending rehearsals and working hard for this production, I had an opportunity to get to know so many other crew members and actors. Now when I reflect back to the time when we worked for In Our Own Backyard, all it reminds me of are the convivial and smiling memories made with my other family members at school.
When it was time for us to promote and advertise our play, everyone who took part in this play was responsible to persuade as many people possible. In the bus going back home, I suggested my bus mates to come watch, however they simply refused and what made me angry wasn’t that the fact they refused to watch, but because they’ve ignored the hard work and effort that theatre has submitted for the production. I’ve known that many people weren’t interested in this type of genre and neither wanted to consume their time late in the afternoon to watch a show, but hearing through my ears sayings like, “No respect for theatre”, “Why watch their show when we can go watch the varsity team play basketball?” and “Theatre is for kids who don’t have anything to do” makes me tear up of anger and exasperation.
As a novice member of theatre, I personally had a very difficult time holding campaigns, working for hours, etc. On the other hand, we have stage managers who work more than any other crew member in order to organize both the backstage crew and actors, and when I watch them sweating from their limitless effort, before I realize myself, I tend to watch them in eyes of dignity and respect. KIS Phoenix Theatre is a group of dedicated, diligent, and affectionate people who cheer up for each other no matter what happens, and try their absolute best at all times to create a successful show for the school. I believe our school would be more of a better community if we all took one more look at how much we manage, try, and accomplish.
[In Our Own Backyard Cast & Crew]
Hence, now that theatre is already a place like home for me, I will stand up and defend my fellow family members whenever we face any obstacles or diatribes, and also prove how people should not only judge a book by its cover, but glance in it and look “behind the scenes”.


Grace Choi
9th Grade
Korea International School

Grace Choi  student_reporter@dherald.com

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