I gave 37 years of my life to do drama and teach at Colchester High School. My first wife, Marcia, died during the production of “Tartuffe” in 2008. Five days later, I was back at CHS. Without changing the date, I finished directing the show. We gave pleasure to the people who saw it. Even more important, it gave the students a drive to bring this show to life and together another successful production.
Many students over my tenure have made careers out of the theatre, some on Broadway in New York, some as drama coaches,and some as community theatre directors and actors.
During my last few years at CHS, I published an article in the national magazine, “High School Today.” In that article, I discussed the importance of theatre in a teenagers life. For some it was a reason for going to high school. For some ,it was the only reason for going to high school. It mattered because they were kids who needed a place..
This is why I am shocked to hear that for the first time in almost 40 years, there will not be a a fall production presented by the Colchester Theatre Company, the group I created so long ago.
Another drama coach quit. The third in three years, the second in the middle of producing a show. Was anyone thinking about how this would affect the students? Does anyone care? Let’s stop and think about what is happening. For many students their world of creating theatre and learning about the craft is taken away. Postponed? Cancelled? How can a show be postponed and yet students are told it was cancelled? Does anyone care or was it simply easier to cancel or postpone the show and bury the facts?
And even that was dealt with behind closed doors and kept quiet.
The kicker was when I first heard about the coach, I called Colchester and said I would come out of retirement and direct the show because of the kids. I had directed it before as well as over 300 other shows in my career. No one in charge was polite enough to to call me back. They would rather disappoint about 30 or 40 kids, the community and waste taxpayers’ money instead of solving the problem by going with an easy solution.
It’s sad no one takes a long, hard look at what happened and think about the kids and what effect this would have on them. Did that benefit the students? It’s sad.
John Coon is a Colchester resident.