By Kyleigh Lewis
One of the best traditions at Oak Hall School hails from the theater department. The One School Musical allows students from third grade until senior year to participate, and they always deliver an outstanding production.
This year’s musical The Battle of Boat is set in the midst of World War I. “[The musical] follows the adventures of a group of children trying to do their best to help the war effort,” said musical director and Upper School music teacher Erin Cushing.
“We think an interesting fact is that there are no adult characters in the show, all the characters are aged from eight to 18 – just like [the kids in] our One School Musical,” she continued.
This specific musical was chosen for the importance of connecting families and performers, and to accommodate the size of the cast. In fact, more than 100 students are participating in this year’s musical. In addition, The Battle of Boat was chosen to bring the performers out of their comfort zone and get them into their characters that hold a significance for the theme of the musical. In addition, Cushing and US theater and One School Musical director Brooke Molitor wanted to try something new and less out of popular demand. “Unlike last year’s funny and very popular show [Seussical: The Musical], this year’s drama is new and has only been performed a few dozen times internationally,” said Cushing.
Seventh grader Caitlin Broska has participated in the One School Musical since she was in third grade. While Matilda is her favorite musical she has acted in, she feels The Battle of Boat is deeper than other musicals. “While there are funny parts, overall, the plot just hits different,” she said.
The actors have been on an emotional rollercoaster throughout each scene they uncover; these feeling have made the actors and directors appreciate this musical even more. “We didn’t realize how impactful this story would be on us,” noted Cushing. “The material is thoughtful and beautifully written, and we are so excited to share the story of these characters!”
Some challenges the actors have faced, is getting into the mindset of what it was like for children in 1916, trying to survive and help the war effort during World War I. As they go through the process of separating the character from themselves, they have learned the motives and life circumstances of these young characters who are the same age as they are.
Overall, the thing that The Battle of Boat cast want their audience and supporters to take away from this show is that the story touches on numerous feelings; yearning, lost, forgiveness and redemption. They want their audience to feel the emotions and energy of the characters they play. “We want our audience to leave having laughed and cried with our characters on stage,” Cushing expressed.
The Battle of Boat will be performed Oct. 19-21 at the Cofrin Theater. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by clicking here!