By Curtis LaCombe
It can be easy to forget what goes on inside the microcosm of schools once we leave them for good. The world of the learning institution continuously cycles through its student body year to year, but educators remain, still teaching a new over-crowded room of students, and still dealing with the abuses of a profession that carries as many scars as it does gold stars.
Focusing on the troubles of the average American school teacher, Wasatch Theatre Company’s production of Making Waves is part of a series of plays, shorts and workshops offered in this month’s Page to Stage Festival. The five-person cast delivers anecdotal monologues (based on real-life accounts) of educators' expereinces by recreating stories that are sometimes comical and sometimes tragic. Through their exciting narratives we are introduced to the profession of teaching from the point of view least seen.
Using set-design elements as teaching tools, the entire theater space becomes reminiscent of a classroom. A projector screen scrolls statistics and quotes in black and white like a chalkboard; even the audience participation is acted out in the fashion of a classroom assignment. It’s a clever take on the average theatrical production to showcase the professional life of the average educator.
Still, the strongest impressions don’t come from all the factual evidence, but from the strong delivery of stories presented by the actors. Josh Clendenin’s captures a teacher’s satisfaction and surprise at actually making a difference to a student, while Jodi Reese conveys a poignant story about discovering an abused child in her classroom. You can’t help but be inspired by a play about teachers and their struggles to have an effect on their students.