Tech’s Advanced Drama class performs two full-scale plays and numerous scenes, assemblies and other shorter performances during the course of the year.
In 2009, the Advanced Drama class was singled out as one of America’s 50 best high school drama programs by the American High School Theater Festival for its original production of “Oakland: Inside Out.” As a result, in August 2010, students from the Advanced Drama class will perform their fall 2009 play, “Hamlet: Blood in the Brain” at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Find out more about Tech’s work to get to the Fringe Festival, including how you can help!
The Advanced Drama class presented “Hamlet” several times at Oakland Tech; at Piedmont High School, to a standing-room-only audience; and they presented scenes from the play in a few venues, including Oakland’s Art Murmur. They will offer a few more performances before taking the play to Europe for the Fringe Festival.
The Advanced Drama class’s Spring 2010 play was “Twelfth Night,” Shakespeare’s tale of gender-bending confused identity. This marked a milestone: the first time that Tech performed Shakespeare in the original language. As part of the Drama Department’s collaboration with the California Shakespeare Theater, professional actors from CalShakes worked with students who had smaller roles in this production, teaching them to develop short prologue-synopses of the play. One such version, written and directed by a student and presented immediately before the play proper, had the audience in gales of laughter – as did the play itself.
In addition to performing, the Advanced Drama class takes advantage of the many local theater offerings with field trips and theater nights in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco. At some of these events, students have the chance to meet with the actors and directors; sometimes, the actors have even acknowledged the class from the stage during talk-backs!