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A Chat With Terry, A Play

By: Marielle Buxbaum (Guest Contributor ‘20)

Dramatis Personae:

Terry-----An incredible theater maker and educator who has inspired FCS students to realize their potential as people, theater makers, and conscientious citizens of the world for 32 years.

Marielle-----The author of this article, ‘20

Narrator-----An omniscient narrator who sometimes interrupts for fun! 

Marielle----Don’t do that!

Narrator----Try and stop me.

Narrator: It was a sunny afternoon in quarantine, and Marielle gave Terry a call, which she had scheduled in order to do some mysterious interviewing. 

Marielle: Hi, Terry! Is my audio good?

Terry: Yes! How’s everything going?

Marielle: Pretty good, thanks! So can I ask you some questions for a Focus article?

Narrator: This is a very meta Focus article. Huh.

Terry: Sure, is the article about the 9th and 10th grade play? 

Marielle: You’ll see, it’s a surprise! So, first question--what will you miss most about FCS?

Terry, missing FCS, but not missing a beat: The students! Definitely the students. Being in the room with a bunch of enthusiastic, incredibly creative, remarkable students making theater. Rehearsal. That process of making, the collaboration! Seeing everyone develop into the actors they are after four years--those are the moments!

Marielle, casual, trying to keep this article mysterious: Aw, I’ll miss those too. You created such a second home for me and so many students in your drama room! You taught us that the core of theater was the ensemble and gifted us not only incredibly directed shows but also such tight bonds with each other. There have been so many great moments--if you had to choose, what were your favorites?

Terry: Well Love’s Labour’s Lost was a peak experience. I had always dreamed of putting it on that way. 

Narrator: I’m still not over those surfboards, o.m.g! 

Marielle, to Narrator: Shh--

Terry: And there was Macbeth. And Angels in America. I was so thankful that Mr. Sellers was so supportive. 

Marielle: Right! The first high school production of Angels in America EVER. 

Narrator: Really??? 

Marielle, to Narrator: You can’t just make that stuff up! [to Terry] I’ve always appreciated how seriously you take students as artists---we would cover topics like death and assault in your classes and plays because they’re so important to address and you taught us how theater is such a great way to have a dialogue with the audience.

Terry: It really is! The world needs theater!

Marielle: Indeed! 

Narrator:  What teenager says “Indeed”?

Marielle, to Terry while scowling at the narrator: So do you have any other favorite memories from your time at FCS?

Terry: One thing I’ll never forget is when the entire lower school came to see Cats. That was extraordinary! And Once Upon a Mattress. Any time the whole school community could come together. I’ve always loved putting on plays that could appeal to kids.

Marielle: Like when we put on The Tempest at the lower school! Your shows have always been such a focal point in the community that everyone can gather for and learn from, and sit in the back row of and have an ugly cry.

Terry: Aw, yeah we’ve had some sad ones! This whole situation is sad, I wish we could all be together at the end of my last year!

Marielle: Me too! 

Narrator: Wow, so many exclamation points.

Marielle, to Narrator: We’re both in theater, what did you expect? [to Terry] But you’ve really been making the best of this pandemic---you’ve taught your Ensemble Theater class how to channel all this craziness into creativity, whether it was teaching us about Waiting for Godot for our movie project, expressing our feelings about the pandemic, or having us try out playwriting. But after all this, what are your plans for post-FCS life?

Terry: I’m planning on doing Shakespeare workshops with Pig Iron Theater Company. 

Marielle: Sounds amazing! That’s one thing I’ve always loved about your theater program--from Shakespeare to Pig Iron’s fringe theater, no play was ever too old or too new and experimental to tackle. It’s all art that people can learn and feel from, if we put in the effort to tell. the. story. 

Terry: That’s what I always say before opening night---live in the world, tell the story. Oh, and I’d love to help out with the play Fairview at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia--you’ll have to tell Bradleigh about that, she did a monologue from that play! 

Narrator: This is so characteristically Terry, right? Always paying attention to supporting every individual. Not only is Terry always encouraging everyone to try theater, but when you do decide to pursue it long-term, she’ll support you to the ends of the Earth. Monologue practice, internships, working together over the summer, whatever she can do to help your creative career!

Marielle, to Narrator: Exactly! Wow, you do a lot more than interrupt. [to Terry] Those plans are so amazing! 

Terry: Oh, and directing former students over the summer!

Narrator: Told you so.

Terry: Basically, I want to be involved in theater education with the amazing Philly theater community. 

Marielle: I know you’ve told all of your students who continue in theater that you’ll come see our shows, but we’ll have to come see yours too! I bet you’ll see many faces from the FCS community coming to your shows.

Narrator: Stay tuned for more of Terry’s work streamed to your computer in quarantine and the fantastic work she will embark on in Philadelphia in this next chapter of her career.

Marielle:  What narrator uses the word “embark”?

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