“It’s the Circle of Life” rang out as students from Edith Bowen Elementary Laboratory School performed their rendition of the song for an auditorium filled with students and parents last week.
With the participation of 120 students grades 3-6, EBLS presented “The Lion King Jr.” The production was student-driven, according to Vice Director Laura Reina.
“I literally stand backstage and do nothing,” Reina said.
The students made up the cast and stage crew. According to Reina, the students designed the lighting, scenery, props and for the most part the costumes.
Two dances for the productions were also choreographed by students.
“Everything was student-designed,” EBLS art teacher Lisa Saunderson said. “They learned how to deal with critique and feedback.”
Saunderson said that the school had been gathering materials for the production since the beginning of the school year to create the scenery and props.
For five weeks, groups of sixth grade students designed and fabricated the set, including Pride Rock, Scar’s cave and the jungle, while another group designed and fabricated the props including wildebeest, elephant and giraffe heads.
“The prop and set team worked so hard,” Saunderson said. “For five weeks, all we did was mass-produce materials from nothing.”
The school asked former EBLS students to help mentor and collaborate with the students on the set, props and acting.
Amelia Nazer, who was part of group designing the props, said she learned a lot from the experience.
“I learned how to collaborate with other people,” Nazer said. “I got better at art.”
Set design group member Caden Lundberg said the experience taught him about what could become art.
“I learned you can use a lot of raw materials to make one really cool piece of art,” Lundberg said.
Reina said the production may help students who are struggling in reading, writing and math to gain confidence.
“We have kids who are leads that have reading disabilities and yet they can get up here and be the star of the show,” Reina said. “Nobody ever knows they struggle with so many other issues.”
Reina and Saunderson said they hope the students gain confidence and have a good time with the production.
“I want them to realize that they all have the potential to be the star,” Reina said. “That they can do something great even if it seems a little crazy and overwhelming.”