Drama Class Horrors

I, like many people, was traumatized in high school. When I was in high school, I took a drama class. I was pretty lucky to even get in since I went to an “arts school”. This meant that people from all over the region applied to come to my school and those people had first dibs on any and all arts classes. So in addition to having an OHL team’s players attend classes at the school, we also had people who were shipping in from surrounding cities wanting to take part in this arts program. 

I only took drama one year – in grade 9. Pretty much any art class after grade 9 you had to be an art’s major or have special permission from the teacher and/or principal to get in. Especially if it was a popular class and all the arts people wanted/needed to take it.

At the end of the year, the drama teacher, Ms A, decided that we would do a “teacher directed” role play. Which means, she was part of it and pretty much directed where the story would go.

Now I have been trying my hardest to track down the original story, so if any of you recognize this story line, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know! I have googled and searched and have come up short. For someone who scares very easily, I have hated this searching. 

The first day of this week long role play, all the students had to make passports in class. The premise was that we were all reporters applying to go to this island to cover a story. There was a funeral there and the widow had invited a select number of reporters (the same number of people in the class go figure!) to come and cover her husband’s death. We needed to get our “documents” ready and make a pitch to say why we should be picked to go. At the end of that day, we were “on a plane” on our way to this mysterious island. For reals, we sat in chairs and pretended to go through turbulence – this was drama class after all. 

For the rest of the week, we were on this island. Now to get a full effect of the trauma, you have to understand we weren’t in a regular classroom. Being an arts school, you’d think there would be a drama class, but no. We were in the basement in a dance studio – a room full of mirrors. For the most part this was great because it allowed us the freedom to act and do our drama things without the confines of desks and regular classroom things. Kind of like this picture, but without the desks on one side. So 2 walls of mirrors, a wall with hooks with coats and bags, the last wall have chairs along it and a piano. One of the mirrored walls had a little area with screens for changing and the like.

image provided via google search

Ok, day 2. We get to this “island” and we are escorted into the church where the “widow”, aka crazy-ass teacher, was waiting for us. The lights were all turned off in the classroom, so the only light came from the 6 inch tall windows along the ceiling.We could still see but it was dark. Ms. A did however, decide that it was great idea to have a tv on in the corner, set to the blue screen…so it reflected off both walls of mirrors. CREEPY.

Back to the story: we get taken to this church and the widow starts to tell us all about her husband and what a great leader he was of the community and how he had saved the community from sure death and extinction. But he had drowned during the last storm, trying to pull a woman in from the water. She was drowning and she pulled him under with her. The backstory was pretty much all we had on day 2.

Day 3: Enter into the classroom, dark as before, tv on as before, but this time instead of a chair in the middle of the class, there were 4 chairs set up in a rectangle. We were told this is the outline of the church. Now this is where it gets really really really creepy. So apparently this community survived by eating meat – human meat. I KNOW!!! What they would do would be to turn off the light house light during storms and let passing ships crash into the rocks. Their strong men would swim out and bring in the dead and drowning. They would take their clothes and valuables for themselves and eat the people. The window’s husband was killed during one of these outings. We were now confined to the church, since the community was once again hungry and we were “fresh meat”. If we left the church we would be taken and eaten. If we got too close to the walls/windows of the church we could be speared and taken.

Day 4: A storm on the island. Today, a chair stood in the middle of our “church” and a screen. (there were a few screens in place in the dance studio for quick changes I guess? or props I have no idea). The lights were flashing on and off, a few students were pulled from the “church” – attacked and taken by the “community” (aka the 3 guys in the class were pulled from the group of hysterical girls to make noises in the corner of the church being attacked). The teacher randomly went around screaming. The blue hue of the tv screen had started flickering as well. It was really an assault on the senses. In that moment, it was real. We were being attacked.

Day 4 ended early. After having a class of 20 or more girls screaming bloody murder, I think the teacher got a call from the office. Drama class was allowed to be noisy, that’s why it was in the basement across from the shop class and down the hall from the music room, but this was a little much. I remember being huddled in a corner with some friends of mine…we had escaped the “church” and were hiding somewhere. All wrapped around each other for support, literally screaming and almost crying. Just as the call from the office came in, the flights turned on. In the middle of the classroom, on the chair that was placed there, sat shaking, almost in a fetal position atop the chair, was one of the arts major students. She had her legs to her chest, her arms wrapped around her legs, sobbing. Either her tears had made a puddle on the floor, or something else had… She was shaking so uncontrollably that the teacher couldn’t even move her from the middle of the room. The most she could manage was to get her to the floor, where she remained curled in a little ball, sobbing.

Class was dismissed early… and that was the end of that role play.

Now I’m not sure if this has anything to do with that crazy mis-adventure that the teacher sent us on, but she voluntarily checked herself into a mental health facility over the summer. Maybe she thought it all up herself? Or maybe it was because she herself was traumatized by a brief fling with the head of the English department. He had gotten married the previous summer and his new wife had just had a baby, maybe she needed help getting over him? Who knows!

So do you recognize this story? Reporters going to an island where a widow is waiting for them. Her husband died trying to get a drowning women to shore so he could take all her jewels and kill her so his community could eat? The reporters locked in the church unable to escape because they were being attacked by the community who all wanted “fresh meat”?

I know people say that they were traumatized by high school (some were, some just in jest). This literally  traumatized me. I can’t even image how that one girl in the middle of the room was feeling.

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