Students acting melodramatic
November 10, 2005
Truckee students of all ages have been busy the past nine weeks rehearsing and preparing for this years musical melodramatic production of Tim Kellys Rogue of the Railway (or Will He Free Her or Knot?).The melodrama program, which is provided by the Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District, has been ongoing since its inception in 1989, and affords participants in fourth through 12th grade the opportunity to develop acting skills in a non-academic environment.When the program began, there were no theater programs after the fourth grade until high school, said the programs co-founder Lois Moore. This fills the gap for kids who enjoy stage shows, and some of them have been participating for years.Moore, who is a fourth-grade teacher at Glenshire Elementary, said that participants enjoy the program so much that she is now having to turn some away because productions are growing too big to manage.Its just so much fun, said Amanda Novik, a Glenshire fifth grader who plays the role of Sarah. Youre nervous and shaky at first, but when everybody claps it makes you feel good inside. Its not love, but it feels like it.And its no wonder that melodrama has such a draw for audiences. With viewer interaction, laughably stereotyped characters, and predictable plot-lines, melodramas are the type of performances that audiences can just sit back and enjoy. The more over-acted it is, the better, Moore said. Traditionally, melodramas performed in the United States have Western themes, but the history of the genre goes all the way back to 16th century France, according to Moore, when playwrites began to combine elements of Greek plays and operas.Those elements always include a hero and distressed heroine, at least one villain, singing, and a chase sequence, according to Rebecca Morgan, a Tahoe Truckee High School junior who played the lead role of Dakota Melody in Rogue of the Railway, and has been serving as assistant director for the past three years. But even with plot and character limitations, Morgan said there is never a shortage of variety in melodrama.