BY KRISTIN SCHULTZ
NISKAYUNA — Rosendale Elementary School Drama Club raised the curtain on its inaugural performance when more than 30 students, a principal and four teachers took the stage Feb. 10 in a production of “The Reluctant Dragon.”
The club just held its first meeting in September 2016 under the guidance of parent adviser Tammy Choumarov and Rosendale secretary and Niskayuna High School Drama Club adviser Regina Maley.
After two months of ice-breaker and team-building activities, 34 fourth- and fifth-graders began reading through the script and preparing for the performance.
“We assigned the parts,” said Maley. “The kids have been great. Not one person complained that their part was too big or too small.”
Co-adviser Choumarov has been equally impressed with the student actors’ dedication.
“They have really put their hearts into it,” she said. “They have learned their lines and gotten into their characters.”
In addition to students, Principal Joseph DiCaprio and four teachers also made an appearance in the production, with only a line or two each.
“We thought it would be fun for the kids to see their teachers onstage, too,” said Maley.
Offstage, elementary school parents brought snacks and made costumes, including multiple (and rather elaborate) dragon suits. The Rosendale PTO provided a grant to purchase the rights to the play.
“The PTO has been spectacular. We didn’t have any funds to purchase the rights to the play, but we applied for and got a grant from the PTO,” said Maley.
She hopes this will be the first of many performances by the elementary school drama club, and thanks to ticket pre-sales, the sole evening show sold out. Maley plans to use the proceeds to fund next year’s play.
“Drama is a chance to express yourself in a judgment-free zone,” she said. “It also brings everyone together to form a cohesive group.”
“The Reluctant Dragon” is an adaptation of the 1930s children’s story by Kenneth Grahame. Two friends discover a dragon and while they try to keep its existence a secret, word gets out and the townspeople demand the fire breather be slain. When it turns out that the fearsome dragon is quite friendly, has an refined vocabulary and prefers to dine on carrots instead of little girls, the two children must help the dragon defend itself and win the hearts of the townspeople.