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Of mice and freshmen

Tale comes alive for Hart freshmen

Posted: September 25, 2008 9:39 p.m.
Updated: November 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Students who had been talking and laughing suddenly got quiet as the actors took the stage and began to bring a classic story to life right before their eyes.

Repertory East Playhouse actors performed two scenes from their current production of the John Steinbeck classic Of Mice And Men at Hart High School in Newhall Thursday.

The book is required reading for Hart freshmen.

“I think it introduces them to the material through a different medium that might be more engaging,” said Ovington Michael Owston, REP artistic director. “Instead of just reading it, they can actually see it come to life.”

The city of Santa Clarita provided the playhouse with a grant to develop an educational outreach program that would directly involve the William S. Hart Union High School District. The REP used a portion of the grant money to provide short performances at schools.

Upperclassmen who had already read the book and freshmen who will read it next semester filed in and out of the auditorium throughout the day to watch the two scenes performed by Tyler Brooks (George), Michael Bruce (Lenny) and Kerry Bishop (Curly’s wife).

Junior Regina Cisneroz said the performances made the book come alive for her.

“It was cool. I really liked it,” Regina said. “When they acted it out, it was like exactly what I read.”
Freshman English teacher Tina Centoni thought the performance was a great idea and feels it will help her students next semester when they read the book.

“Students who aren’t good readers have trouble getting that picture in their heads as they read, so hopefully this will plant that picture in their heads before they start reading,” Centoni said.

Owston hopes the performances give students a better understanding of Steinbeck’s story and provide them with a better appreciation for theater and the arts.

“It would be nice if seeing this made the students want to come see the show, and that might make them want to see more theater productions,” Owston said.


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