Grades 7 & 8 Musical “Once Upon a Mattress”

Cora M., Arts and Entertainment

STATEN ISLAND ACADEMY: On May 10th and 11th at Staten Island Academy (SIA), grades 7 and 8 will put on the production of “Once Upon a Mattress” with the help of the Theater Arts Crew. 

Every year during the Spring season, SIA’s grades 7 and 8 put on a production with help from a lot of the staff, students, and faculty. This year, the arts department has selected “Once Upon a Mattress,” a classic Broadway comedy. Many of the grade 7 and 8 students are looking forward to the outcome of the musical. 

Acting, singing, and dancing on stage are 28 students. Mr. Weissman, the director of the musical, said that what makes this cast special is that, “This particular cast is a very young cast – a cast without much stage experience.  But it is also a talented cast.” Although there is a lot of time, work, and effort that goes into the play process—auditions, weekly rehearsals, tech week, and more—the play process is also a fun time to discover your character, share some laughs, and watch as the play comes together. Mr. Weissman said, “My favorite part is the process of rehearsal – as students discover who their characters are and begin challenging themselves onstage.  It is always fun and rewarding to be able to build a scene around what a group of students can bring to their characters.”  

Although they aren’t featured on stage, there are 21 students working behind the scenes in the Theater Arts Crew (TAC). In Theater Arts crew, props, castle walls, and programs are being designed and coming to life. Ms. Dunning (3D arts teacher) and Ms. Pfister (2D arts teacher) said, “As a group we came up with appropriate visual themes for the poster and program design…Our next major task was to paint six 3 foot by 11 foot paintings of rock castle walls that will be installed on stage. Next Tuesday our crew goes on stage to paint the sets that have been constructed.” As you can tell, the TAC is working very hard to build and paint the sets and props that are very important to the execution of the show. When asked what makes the TAC so vital, Ms. Dunning and Ms. Pfister said, “So, Ms. Pfister and I believe our TAC contributions are vital to the visual success of the production. Our work requires teamwork and cooperation.” Overall, the TAC is a very important part of the play process and execution. Also, if you are coming to watch the play, please do not forget to stop by the atrium to look at the exhibition of some of the artwork made by the TAC.  

Alissar D. plays Winifred, the 13th princess to get tested by the queen to see if she’s good enough to marry the prince. Along with being the lead role in the musical comes long nights and a lot of hard work. Alissar says, “Two main characteristics I’ve learned from my extra-curricular experiences are the importance of teamwork and responsibility. These are two moral values that I strongly stand by because I’ve discovered working together is more rewarding than by yourself, and that one of the greatest feelings is knowing you are continuously supported by others who will help you whenever you fall.” As you can tell, Alissar has learned a lot during the play process. She also says, “ While participating in SIA’s musical, acting alongside others and bonding with the cast taught me the values of working in unison and co-operating with others.” 

 As you can tell, the arts department has been working and will continue to work extremely hard these past weeks and upcoming days in preparation for the final productions on May 10th and 11th. Remember to come and watch “Once Upon a Mattress” at Staten Island Academy this Friday and Saturday! 

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