You Are Cordially Required to Attend…

Many seniors and juniors were shocked when they opened their email to find a message from Mr. Turf “cordially requiring” them to attend an evening performance of Theatre for Social Change. Mocking Facebook posts aside, this dinner-theatre event left many students wondering why they would be required to attend in the evening instead of during the school day as it has been for the past few years.

When T4SC first began during the 2005-2006 school year, the schedule was never modified. Garner was still being renovated after it was damaged by Hurricane Wilma. All Upper School students were required to attend an evening performance at the FIU North Campus theatre, dinner not included. Due to the length of the play, the number of Middle School students able to see it, and Garner’s limited size, the schedule wouldn’t allow for the sheer amount of changes needed to accommodate every student.

In a few years, the Art Centre would have fixed this problem, because the entire Upper School will be able to view the play together. But for now, students can expect a unique and authentic dinner-theatre experience created by Mrs. Pitchman, Mr. Turf, and SAGE Dining. Though the menu has yet to be decided, the items will come from the catering side of SAGE, not the cafeteria, so students can expect something a little fancier than burgers and rice. Mr. Turf welcomes suggestions if students have menu requests.

Many students wondered why Juniors and Seniors specifically had been singled out to attend at night. According to Mrs. Pitchman, “Because they drive. It’s much easier for them to get back to school for the evening than freshman and sophomores, who would predominantly have to get a ride to attend.”

But some students still had concerns. “I want to go,” said junior Juztin Gross, “but I play an early game that day. The last thing any of us want to do when we get back – after a long bus ride, playing warm ups and a game for four hours – is watch a play. Even if in my own free time I’d love to go, this isn’t how I’d like to do it.” Nicki Sherwood agreed. “I think it should be voluntary. I think they underestimate how many people would attend if it was offered.”

Though Mr. Turf’s email implied a penalty for not going, he’s said that they won’t take attendance and they won’t be giving a specific punishment if they notice you’re not there. “We never penalized students who had an absence that day,” he said. “So it wouldn’t be fair of us to penalize juniors and seniors now. That being said – I hope that everyone will attend. It’s an integral part of our community.”

Students like Juztin who can’t attend on the upperclassmen night (February 26th) can attend the general admission night on February 27th, though they’ll miss out on dinner. This year’s play, called “Somebody’s Children,” is about a group of homeless teenagers living in the shadow of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. It’s unusual because of its use of powerful spoken word poetry, as showcased by the Project Voice assembly in early January. Students and parents alike are cordially invited to attend.