‘No place like home’ in the theater club

Katie Kowalski, kkowalski@ptleader.com
Posted 4/24/18

“Drama is what got me through school.”

Ellie Spitzbart isn’t talking about the type of drama one usually associates with high school – friend or relationship drama.

The Chimacum High …

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‘No place like home’ in the theater club

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“Drama is what got me through school.”

Ellie Spitzbart isn’t talking about the type of drama one usually associates with high school – friend or relationship drama.

The Chimacum High School graduate is talking about the theater.

“It was the only thing I looked forward to,” she said.

For seven years, Spitzbart has been directing the drama club that supported her throughout her own high school years.

During the next two weekends, that club is putting on a production of the children’s classic “The Wizard of Oz.”

“The kids like to do known shows,” Spitzbart said. “Shows that they know and love, shows that they know the community will love.”

COME TO LIFE

Spitzbart was offered the position of drama director when she was only 21, not that long after she graduated from Chimacum.

“It forced me into a mature role,” she said, noting how she was, at that time, just a few years older than the seniors. “I’m really glad that I had this wealth of experience at such a young age.”

During the years, she has watched many a student’s imagination come to life under her leadership.

“In (school), they’re quiet and reserved and shy,” she said of many of the students. “On the stage, they have that ability to be someone else … they come to life.”

Spitzbart said she has had principals and teachers come up to her and say, “I had no idea that that person could be that outgoing,” she said.

“It really does give (students) an avenue to be able to become someone they feel they are inside,” she said.

DRAMA BUG

“The Wizard of Oz” will feature high school students, along with some middle and elementary school students.

“I’ve loved watching the high school students mentor the younger students,” Spitzbart said. “It's something that happens all on its own, naturally.”

It is a challenge though, she said, having such an age range of students, from fourth through 12th grade.

“And one of me,” she said, laughing.

Spitzbart has seen many seniors leave, which is something she describes as a “bittersweet experience.”

Last year, one of those graduates went on to pursue theater in college.

“He started when he was in seventh grade … his parents put him in the program because they wanted him to come out of his shell,” she said. “He’s just blossomed and grew into this incredible person.”

This year, she has five graduating seniors. Two of those seniors wrote a play for their senior project, she said.

“They got the drama bug,” Spitzbart said. “It’s wonderful that they found something they love and that they've done it their whole high school time.”

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The production of “The Wizard of Oz,” Spitzbart said, will be close to the traditional, classic story.

“We always put our own spin on things,” she explained. “There will be some gender bending.”

It promises to be a fun and colorful show, she said, adding she hopes the audience will come to see a story many hold close to their hearts, and one that showcases the students she has worked with.

“I’m just there to help facilitate their dream and their vision and what they see and what they want their show to be,” she said.

Plus, it offers a good message, she said. “There really is no place like home.”

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