High school ‘Construction Systems’ class supports forthcoming production of ‘Hairspray’ with prop building

An integrated, team approach is making the Drama Club’s forthcoming production of “Hairspray” a reality.

Construction team for HairsprayIn this instance, students in Christopher Tuthill’s “Construction Systems” class are contributing behind the scenes with the building of some important props. The class has built a riser platform, a necessity for the student actors, singers and dancers to use throughout the show, and wooden backdrops.

Real life work experience

“Projects like this give the students the opportunity to work with the tools and materials they have learned about in class while applying them to real life experiences,” said Mr. Tuthill. “It gives the students the confidence to use their skills in settings outside of the classroom.”

Student construction crew workingOver several days, students brought the props’ paper design to life. With tools and measuring devices, they worked in a team effort to build the structures, which will serve a key purpose throughout the show.

The completed structures will be turned over to the student artists who will take the sturdy, “raw” structures and add more life to them with color and other design work.

“This is more ‘real life’ that just a tiny class project,” said sophomore Gerardo Siena. “This shows me if you need to fix up anything in your home, you can do it yourself versus having someone else do it.”

Sophomore Tobias Enoch agreed, stressing what students are doing in the class helps them to refine future sought-after skills.

Marketable skills and important basic knowledge

“This is a marketable skill if I ever needed to use it,” he said. “It’s good to have this basic knowledge.”

Both felt it was important for classes like theirs to be supportive of what other classes or clubs are doing.

“This happens a lot in technical design (classes),” Tobias said. “It’s an integrated approach and it’s nice.”

Student construction crew workingMr. Tuthill believed projects like these offer students tremendous pride when they see the end result.

“It gives the students a sense of ownership of the project they are working on,” he added. “They can see a stack of lumber turn into a structure that will be used to benefit the drama club.  The specialized skills they are learning can be used to help the community.  Students can take pride in knowing that they helped contribute to the overall success of the school and the many extracurricular activities in which it provides.”

Hairspray details

“Hairspray” opens on March 21 with additional performances on March 22, and 23, all at 7 p.m.

Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, “Hairspray” is the story of teenager Tracy Turnblad and her dream to dance on “The Corny Collins Show.”

After earning a role on the show, Tracy becomes an overnight celebrity and, with the support of her new friends, she campaigns for the show’s integration.

The winner of eight Tony Awards in 2003, “Hairspray” remains one of the most popular musicals not only because of its entertaining musical numbers and vibrant colors, but because of its beautiful message of acceptance and community.