Each day when school lets out there are a group of students that don’t go home or hang out on the corner or get into trouble in the neighborhood.
No, these students are committed to learning the craft of drama and theater arts and are perfecting two One Act Plays that will debut on November 15. The plays. “Speed Date” and “Check Please” are comical plays that deal with the topic of dating. The students on November 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. at Eastie High will perform the plays for the first time in front of a packed audience.
Led by one of the school’s special needs teacher, Anthony Gallotto, the group of 16 students ranging from freshman to seniors meet in the school’s auditorium (or room 334 if there is cheerleading practice) and rehearse their scenes, perfect their technique and even work on building sets and creating costumes.
“We started four years ago and did a one of the first plays I performed in high school and it just grew from there,” said Gallotto.
The group has become part of the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Festival and the plays they perform twice a year at the high school is something the entire EBHS community looks forward to.
“We get great support from Mr. Rubin and the entire staff,” said Gallotto. “The thing is for a lot of these kids there is no other creative output afforded to them. The drama club allows them to explore this creative side.”
Students in the program do everything from acting, writing scenes, pre-production work and set design.
“And for the first time this year several of the kids will write our first original play that will be entered into a competition through the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Festival,” said Galloto. “I will be entrusting these students to do everything from creative design to direction.”
This has always been Galloto’s plan, to transform the drama club from an adult directed club to a club with Galloto in an adult advising role.
“These kids will be in charge of set design, set building…basically all aspects of what it takes to put on a major production,” said Galloto.
On the kids’ level of commitment to the club, Galloto said he has been impressed each and every year.
“These are a great group of kids,” said Galloto. “A majority of these kids are honors or AP students so it’s a major commitment for them to balance their school work load with play practice”
Galloto grew up in Eastie and was a 2002 graduate of Savio High School. There he was involved in theater and drama.
“At Savio I studied under Patrick Folley and he gave me my start in theater,” said Galloto.
Galloto went on to graduate from UMass Boston with a major in history and a minor in theater.
“I found in high school and college that theater programs can be cliquey,” said Galloto. “The most important thing I tell the kids is that this is a safe place and a place they can feel comfortable taking risks.”