Performing A Wrinkle in Time: What do we learn through creative inquiry?

Rehearsals are in full swing as seventh and eighth graders prepare for their upcoming performance of A Wrinkle in Time. The spring production is a milestone for our most senior students and an important and culminating component of our performing arts program. It will be the first live performance on center stage since 2019.

This year’s selection, A Wrinkle in Time, is an adaptation of the classic science fiction novel about a girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space to rescue her father. The book and this play hold great meaning to the school, as the book was written by former faculty member, Madeleine L’Engle. Ms. L’Engle taught at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s from 1960-1966 and served on the faculty at the time of the book’s publication in 1962. In addition to authoring more than 50 books, L’Engle also wrote the school’s Christmas Pageant. Her script has been performed by St. Hilda’s students for 50 years and counting. 

A Wrinkle in Time is the latest theatrical expression of an important learning experience at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s. Using narrative and point of view to explore curricular objectives is something students do throughout their educational journey. It begins with imaginative play, which is a vital part of the early childhood program. Teachers use role playing, puppets and storytelling to enhance dramatic play and aid in comprehension. As students grow older, drama and the performing arts take on a more formal training and students tackle more complex material. When sixth graders study William Shakespeare and perform A Midsummer Night's Dream, it helps them understand the text by creating and inhabiting a character. They learn to feel and express the emotions Shakespeare wrote about.
 
Similarly, performances like A Wrinkle in Time will not only allow students to hear and perform the written word, but they also create exciting and meaningful contexts for learning. “Students become intimately familiar with the narrative of a story – they are not just casual observers. They perform as a team, taking on different roles, exploring a character fully, working together to tell a story,” says English and Performing Arts teacher Stephen Abel. “I think performing theater makes students more compassionate because it requires them to examine in detail the character's circumstances and conflicts.”

Mr. Abel embraced A Wrinkle in Time for this year’s production because, as he says, “I love the idea that the struggle between good and evil is going on around the universe, not just in the human heart. I never tire from the story of the hero's journey.”

We are thrilled to be able to bring this time honored tradition back this spring.  A Wrinkle in Time will debut on Thursday, May 26th.