Real Solutions Underneath the Costumes

Drama Troupe explores social issues at WBHS

By Elizabeth Schreiber, Current Staff

While students and members of the community will be watching Drama Troupe perform, the true focus is not on the performers.  Rather, addressing community struggles and discussing solutions will be the focal point.

After being absent from the drama program for several years, Drama Troupe is returning to the West Bend High Schools.  The program’s goal is to use dramatic arts to reach out to others and the community.  Skits last between three and seven minutes, and are followed by discussion. 

“It’s a way of addressing topics in a new artistic way and approaching solutions from a different angle.  It really opens kids up for discussion,” said Tonya Fordham, the high school drama director.

Subject matter includes a broad range of topics, largely focusing on things that are currently troubling the community.  The group’s target audience is mainly middle and high school students, but skits emphasize concepts adults can also relate to.  Topics to be addressed are selected by Drama Troupe members.  Subjects such as substance abuse and bullying are approached from a new direction.  Skits are done in what is almost an improv format.

“People can move in and out of skits, so each performance is different depending on the perspective someone brings to it,” explained Fordham.

Before performances can begin, members must first go through drama training.  According to Fordham, one-third of those who join have no previous acting experience.

“I can teach them how to act; that’s not the issue.  What I’m really looking for is good character and a willingness to help others,” said Fordham.

While helping others is at the heart of the program, Drama Troupe members also gain valuable experiences in the process.

“They discover things they didn’t know about themselves in a group setting.  It bonds them for a long time,” said Fordham.

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