It’s one thing for a Green Elementary School teacher to watch her 45 students take the stage Friday night for the fifth-grade play “Pirate Boy and Dragon Girl.” It’s even a greater joy for Karen Sinclair to watch when it’s a play written and directed by her.

“It’s wonderful. It’s fanciful. It’s like the most indulgent fantasy to see my creation come to life,” Sinclair said.

As the name suggests, the play is about a pirate boy and dragon girl who learn the tangible things in life, like gold and jewels, are not as important as something like friendship. These are lessons the school frequently teaches already, but the play provides a different experience with the familiar material.

“We are always teaching the value of being a good friend, of empathy and just valuing humanity rather than things,” Sinclair said. “We are always really wanting the students to know its far more important to treat each other well and to be good people, to be good and kind and smart, rather than to care about what we look like or what we have or who we know or whatever.”

This is Sinclair’s second year at Green Elementary. It is also the second year she has written and directed a school production.

Last year, when the school decided to do a play, they found the cost of royalties were too expensive. Instead, Sinclair decided to adapt a story she had written for her granddaughter into a script, even though she had never written a play before.

When the school chose to repeat the experience, Sinclair set about writing another script. It took her about three months to complete. According to Sinclair, a lot of the parts were written to match the personalities of the 45 students.

“The kids have worked really hard,” said Sinclair. “We missed a week of school because of the snow and that was really critical rehearsal time but the students have pulled it together.”

Sinclair had help from fellow teachers, staff and community members. Her teaching partner Gina Evenich choreographed all the dances, PE teacher Jamie Hummel also helped with music and music teacher Sean Shea provided live accompaniment. Sinclair said the overwhelming support she received made the whole thing possible.

“I get to watch these kids learn and grow as they learn it and perform it and come out of their shells. (There are) kids that don’t think they can do anything that we are asking them to do and by the end, not only do they do a brilliant job, but they have fallen in love with acting and singing and dancing,” Sinclair said. “It’s really wonderful.”

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native Roseburgian. She is an alumni of Roseburg High School, UCC and Western Oregon University. She can be reached at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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