This weekend, the Westridge Theatre Department will present the 8th grade play What If? as its final production of the year. What If? is an original show comprised of four vignettes inspired by movies and TV shows, with scripts, costume design, scenic design, animation, and performances by 8th grade students – a fitting way to round out a theatrical season that has put student work at the center of every production.
What If? was developed through a collaborative process that began with 8th grade students presenting project proposals that used movies or TV shows as the source material for new pieces of theatre. Working together with their peers and theatre faculty, the 8th grade students have worked since January to develop two live action pieces inspired by Frozen II and The Hunger Games, a claymation piece inspired by The Bachelor, and an animated piece inspired by the anime film Grave of the Fireflies.
The Theatre Department has embraced the virtual performance space this year as an opportunity for students to be involved in multiple aspects of the creative development process. “There have been students in past productions who wanted to perform and be involved in costumes or sets, but they were limited because the rehearsals, costume, and set crews all met at the same time. So, this was a great opportunity for them to do more than one thing, and also to create new material,” said Theatre Teacher Julia Davis. “It's so important to learn your own voice, and to learn who you are and how you like to create, because you’re not just one thing —you aren’t only an actor. Maybe you’re an actor who also loves to build things or to write your own material.”
Many students involved in creating What If? took this opportunity to explore their interests in multiple creative areas. During the livestream performances, audiences will have a chance to see featurettes created by the Upper School theatre production class that show behind-the-scenes footage of how What If? came to life.
What If? will be streaming this weekend on Friday, May 14 at 7 pm and Saturday, May 15 at 2 pm. Click here to reserve your free tickets.