The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Bringing elementary stories to a high school stage

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Emma Yu
Students from advanced drama, acting as rival surfers, coast the waves onstage.

The term “storyteller” often conjures up images of seasoned travelers with tales of adventures far and wide. But on Thursday, Dec. 14, advanced drama performed six plays inspired by the most unlikely of storytellers: kids. 

“Story to Stage” began with the ideas of three fifth-grade classes from Washington Elementary School. The drama students harnessed the kids’ ideas and spent weeks writing, rehearsing and creating props and costumes. Among the play titles were “A girl who painted the sun,” “A field of dreams” and “One day, when Emily realized she was broke.” In these six plays, the creativity of the fifth graders eclipsed their naivete. 

“The kids end up being able to see what they’ve written on stage which I think [is] really cool for them,” senior and advanced drama student Dylan Ares Hanson said. “But it’s [also] cool for us, because it’s not often you get the opportunity to perform something as weird as some of the things that these kids write.”

Unfortunately, some of the plays had to, both literally and figuratively, be brought back down to earth, as the kids’ imagination exceeded the performers’ resources. A few stories, for instance, included unrealistic elements such as flight or teleportation. 

“Kids are very creative,” senior and advanced drama student Emmanuel Pubien said. “But when [stuff] like that comes up, we’re like, ‘oh, we can’t do that because we just don’t have that power.’”

As a result, the drama students spent hours proofreading 21 submitted stories to pick six finalists. This process made writing the scripts a much easier task for the students.

“Once we get the ones that we’re able to convert into plays, I don’t necessarily think it’s difficult to [rewrite] them,” Pubien said.

Sophomore Gina Saccuman rehearses a line while teaching a play in Story to Stage, preparing to perform on Dec. 14.

For the drama students, reading the stories was like watching the kids discover new paths opening up for the characters.

“I love seeing like the fifth graders develop their ideas throughout the plot,” senior and advanced drama student Elizabeth Diehl said. “It’s really fun [getting] these stories and seeing how the kids’ creativity flows through.” 

Performing and directing one-act plays was a valuable experience for many advanced drama students. It allowed the actors to learn the art of theater production, and crew members to perform onstage. 

“I [act in] the plays on stage normally, and I don’t get any experience with tech, directing, [script] writing, blocking or anything like that,” Ares Hanson said. “It’s cool to be able to do it on a smaller scale [as] opposed to a real, full length production.”

Burlingame’s advanced drama has put on annual Story to Stage performances since this year’s senior class was in fifth grade. Thus, it was full circle for the class of 2024, as they also submitted stories and had them converted to one-act plays. 

To the advanced drama students, creating the production did more than improve their theater skill sets. Seeing the fifth-graders in the audience cheer as their stories came to life made them nostalgic for when they, too, watched Story to Stage.

“You get to see the fifth-graders [in] the audience light up when you perform it for them,” Ares Hanson said. “It’s very cool to see.”

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About the Contributor
Emma Yu, Staff Reporter
Emma Yu is a freshman at Burlingame High School and a first year journalism student. She’s very excited to be part of The Burlingame B staff this year and learn about what it takes to become a journalist! Some hobbies that led her to journalism are writing stories, designing graphics, parliamentary debate, and impromptu speech. In her free time, Emma also enjoys painting, reading classics, gaming, and studying philosophy.
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