Parting is such sweet sorrow…

Directing Without the Drama, Musings, Theatre

This week has been very bittersweet.  I am excited to be embarking on my new adventure teaching abroad in Singapore, but am also sad to be leaving my wonderful students and colleagues in Cincinnati.   I have had the privilege of working with some incredibly talented kids and even more talented adults.

One of my 8th graders wrote a fantastic goodbye speech for the closing assembly yesterday that I thought I would reprint here.   Thank you Drew, for Aslan, Julian Marsh, Conrad Birdie, Harold Hill, Stephano, Scar and at the last minute Pumbaa.  It has been such an honor being your teacher and helping launch your love of theater.  Thank you for all the laughs, the characters and the memories.  I am so excited to help you continue your theatrical journey and see where it goes.  The admiration is mutual, I only ask to be thanked at the Tony Awards 🙂

A teacher, a director, a mentor, a friend.  When I first met Miss Damon I was part of a small panel tasked with interviews the candidates for the Middle School theater position. I wasn’t sure what to think of Miss Damon, but over the next two years my opinion changed completely.  The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was a trial run for what was yet to come.  We blocked the show through jokes, laughter and fun and put on a stellar middle school performance.  Not a month later, Tap Boot Camp began and Miss Damon taught the firlls how to tap and the boys how to fake it.  We quickly learned that Miss Damon’s forte was musical theatre.  Through sweat and through blood we forged an experience in a fiery heart of true family.  The matriarch of this family was of course, Miss Damon.  We said our goodbyes for the summer and took a short three months respite eager to begin the 2014-2015 season, it was sure to be a memorable one.  The first day of school was marked not by crisp folders and a new backpack, but by Bye Bye Birdie auditions.  A new batch of talent, ready to shine, entered Founders and were welcomed with open arms.  Bye Bye Birdie set the bar pretty hight, yet with Miss Damon’s direction we were sure to surmount it.  Earlier, before summer vacation had begun, a small group of 7th and 8th graders auditioned into an elite group headed to the Junior Theatre Festival the following winter.  Immediately after Bye Bye Birdie, rehearsals began like never before.  Under Miss Damon’s leadership, 15 Middle Schoolers ventured to Atlanta and were immersed in the world of Musical Theatre for 3 days.  The time flew by and before we knew it, we were back on the bus headed to Cincinnati for The Tempest.  Many of us had never performed Shakespeare before and The Tempest loomed over the Theatre department like an evil gray shroud.  Miss Damon, The captain of our ship told us to be brave, have faith in our abilities and to most of all, have fun.  The Tempest, though not the most conventional show, was another successful show.   Audition for The Lion King were a bittersweet affair.  We sang and danced knowing that the “7Stars Theater” was losing more than just its upperclassmen.  Miss Damon held her head high and stuck it out through countless rehearsals never thinking of the end.  When it finally came to Tech Week, the end was in sight.  The final performance of The Lion King  was marked with tears of joy and sorrow.  Through it all, we were behind our leader.  I can say that without her guidance, my life would be drastically altered.  Miss Damon gave me the courage to get truly invested in Theater.  I thank you for giving me the courage to continue.  Miss Damon has touched the lives of all who she directed and the effects of her passion will never be forgotten.  As Sean O’Casey said, “All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.”  Though your direction, many of us at the middle school are well rehearsed for theatre, academics, and life.  Goodbye Miss Damon and once again, thank you.

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