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Kate Cramer is one unique Southmoreland middle schooler. Heavily involved in marching band, concert band, and the gifted program (OMEGA) the eighth grader uses her creative talents in different ways.
More recently, Cramer, with the help of her classmates, was able to write her own play for the OMEGA program. This will be the first time in years that the middle school has done a theatrical production.
“I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. It was one of my favorite units in language arts class, along with the drama unit,” Cramer said. “I’ve participated in theatre since I was nine. The middle school finally is doing something theatrical, and (when I found out) I was immediately all over it.”
The play, however, originally started as a showcase of Christmas monologues and scenes from the internet.
“After a few weeks of no process (finding anything), we decided on writing our own play. After a few days, no one really had any idea on what to do, and where the story should go, which gave me an idea,” Cramer said. “A play within a play is a troupe that isn’t often used, but, when used correctly, is incredibly entertaining.”
The play, titled “The Greatest Christmas Play Ever” was inspired by the OMEGA group’s efforts on writing a play themselves. The show follows students and their struggles to write a holiday show in 24 hours.
“Watching these middle school students scramble to write a play in 24 hours and teaching our main character and audience important lessons was such a fun challenge,” Cramer said.
Faith Tarr, Southmoreland seventh grader, plays the principal in this production, guiding the characters through the process of writing their play.
“I’ve had a blast working with my friends, and this is unlike anything I’ve ever done before,” Tarr said. “This is helping me further my confidence in theatre in other outlets, such as C Glee (an after school performance program in Connellsville).”
The OMEGA students do theatrical activities with the Geyer Performing Arts Center education director and Southmoreland alumnus Miss Mandy Onder.
“Miss Mandy is so much fun to work with and an amazing teacher,” Tarr said. “She inspires me to be the best I can be.”
“Miss Mandy is not only an incredible teacher, but an incredible collaborator. During the entirety of this process, she has been right next to me every step of the way, offering guidance, reassurance, and encouragement,” Cramer said. “I’ve known (Miss Onder) since I was 9, and even though I was young, she always treated more as a friend than a student. She never has spoken down to me or forced me in a direction I haven’t wanted to go in. I am forever grateful for her to extend her talents and guidance to me.”
“The Greatest Christmas Play Ever” will be held Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. in the middle school cafeteria. Admission is free, but a donation of $5 is requested at the door. The show will then be followed by light refreshments.