Sunday, January 5, 2014

a musical about salem

eighth grade sings and dances through Salem Village

In he beginning of the school year, I promised the eighth graders of Davis Waldorf that I would write them a play. Capitalizing on their love of music, singing, and dancing, I figured, why not really stretch myself artistically and write a musical? So over Winter Break, in the solitude of early morning, I pecked away at the laptop, and amid the afternoons of family life, I pounded away at the piano. Days before our return to school, I had completed my first musical! It is called Good Village Salem: The Unsung Story.

Twelve students, six original songs, one witch!

Not only was writing melodies and lyrics a challenge, but the story itself required sensitivity and plenty of creative license. After all, I was dealing with a dark time in colonial American history, where the Puritan way of life was wrestling with its strict doctrine, the colonists were faced with insurgency from the Wampanoag, and there were land disputes and political turmoil. The Puritans struggled with the clash of community and individuality. Their lives continuously put them at odds with the devil. And how do I deal with the witch craft trials on stage without actually hanging anybody at Gallows Hill?

Well, using historical figures from Salem, adding plenty of real themes and motivations that drove the Witch Trials, I managed to get to the court trial of one of their citizens Bridget Bishop, and after much drama in court (pulled from real transcripts), the judge rules that Bridget Bishop is.......

Sorry for the cliffhanger! I'll let you know, in about seven weeks after the students have performed the play, what happens!