The Outsiders plays on stage, screen and text in Barrington schools
Pony Boy, played by Tim Fosaca, and Bob, played by Michael Waldron, fight on stage during Barrington High School's production of the "The Outsiders" on Nov. 8. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 15, 2012 11:58AM
BARRINGTON — Last week, Barrington High School students opened their production of The Outsiders, a classic tale of two rival groups set in 1965 in Oklahoma.
In a special presentation Nov. 8, seventh-graders from Prairie and Station middle schools were invited to the high school to see the production.
Seventh-grade English teachers Betsy Thalheimer and Judith Musschoot explained that the play aligns with the middle school curriculum because their seventh-graders are currently reading The Outsiders in class.
“We saw the movie and the play and now they’re going to compare them,” Musschoot said.
Thalheimer said her class recently learned about the work that goes into a production. She said the comprehensive approach to learning about theater and production is in line with Common Core Standards, which are federal-mandated learning initiatives.
Thalheimer reported that her students have enjoyed the story of The Outsiders and were excited to see it acted out by the BHS performers.
“We think the high school students did a wonderful job,” she said.
High school students in the production said they enjoyed the story, too.
“I love it,” said Katie Kushner, a BHS senior who played Cherry Valance, one of the play’s lead roles. “It’s from a different era and it has very serious morals to it. I’m the cheerleader who becomes friends with the greasers.”
Senior Alex Wirth also had a lead role in the play as Johnny.
“I like the role because my character goes through change,” he said. “Through his journey, he realizes things he never realized before.”
Wirth said he’s always enjoyed the story of The Outsiders.
“I loved reading it in middle school,” he said.
High school students from all grades had opportunities to be on stage.
“It’s really nice for a freshman to be in a main stage play,” said Colleen Kelch, a freshman who played the nurse and the popcorn girl. “It’s really nice to be on the larger stage with upperclassman.”
Lisa Southern, Barrington High School’s theater director, said they did not plan on The Outsiders lining up with the seventh-grade curriculum, but that it was fortunate that it worked out that way.
She described last week’s production as a great way to meet future high school students as well.
“We tried to figure out a show which had a large enough cast to get kids to come out,” Southern said. “It’s really easy when you have a talented bunch of kids to work with.”