- School District 49
From pages to the stage
Wilbur in costume, photo by Sara Vari, FMS
The Falcon Middle School theater students toured the Falcon Zone elementary schools on Friday, April 21 to perform their play “Charlotte’s Web,” a play chosen specifically to go along with the classic novel selected for One Zone, One Book.
This semester, students across the zone have been reading E. B. White’s novel about Zucerman’s famous pig. The One Zone, One Book family literacy project is a program where children in all grade levels read and/or listen to the same book.
The choice of “Charlotte’s Web” was a Zone effort. A group of books was selected by the instructional coaches and principals, and then the question of could one these be the FMS play was asked.
“It was a collaborative effort. The elementary teachers said we can pick any one of these books,” said Firebird Theater Director Anthony Guerra. “I picked the one that had the best play adaptation. It is just a classic. And I love classics. I felt I could do a lot with the set design. The cast was very flexible, making it easy to fill roles.”
Anthony Guerra introduces the play at Falcon Elementary School of Technology.
Guerra, sixth grade writing teacher, is a product of District 49. He attended Meridian Ranch Elementary School and FMS, and graduated from Falcon High School in 2018. He did his student teaching at Skyview Middle School. Not only is he in his first year of teaching, he was hired at a D49 Job Fair. “D49 is my home,” he said.
“Charlotte’s Web” makes a great play, but Guerra has fond memories of reading the book in school. “It’s the first book I remember that made me cry when I was little,” he said. “You don’t expect that to be a story that deals with death. It really does take a lot of kids by surprise.”
FMS started rehearsing the play in February.
“I really like the aesthetics of the show,” Guera said. “It is turning out so good. All the kids are looking cute and doing such a good job.”
There are 32 students in the cast and 10 working tech for the play. The students were involved in every step of the process including set design. “They all get hands-on experience,” Guerra said.
The elementary school tour only included Act 1 of the play, and just a few props. Not only does Guerra hope the show gets students interested in theater, but that it helps readers.
“They get to see something they have worked with in class and get to see it brought to life in front of them,” Guerra said. “Especially for kids that struggle with reading, I hope this is an extra aid for them to fill in things they might have missed.”
“I’ve noticed one thing about this generation, is that they are visual,” Guerra said. “The kids get excited when they can integrate what they are learning with something that is tangible to them. Being able to read the text, then not only see it come to life, but to see it come to life by their friends and their siblings, it makes it special to them.”
Charlotte in costume, photo by Sara Vari, FMS
Falcon Zone Superintendent Brian Smith said, “Our One Zone, One Book program has been a phenomenal way to get all of our elementary students engaged in fun reading activities centered around a book that we have all known and loved from our childhoods. Schools coordinate fun contests and events all relating to the book and it is awesome to see the engagement and excitement from the students. We wanted FMS to help align with this project this year by putting on their spring play as the same production as the book so that students would have another opportunity to connect with ‘Charlotte’s Web.’ I want to thank all of our instructional coaches, teachers, leadership teams, staff, and community for putting together an awesome One Zone, One Book event again this year.”
The community can watch the play at 6 p.m. Friday, April 21, at FMS. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for general admission.