'Straight from the Soul'

By: Venton Blandin Email
By: Venton Blandin Email

February 27, 2007

February 2007 is quickly coming to a close, and with it 'Black History Month', but one local class hopes to continue spreading a message of diversity.

The class has original way of celebrating Black America 'Straight from the Soul', and throughout the region.

"Our play 'Straight from the Soul' is a vision we all had about African-American culture, and what it means to us individually and collectively, said Co-wrote Nick Johnson.

The vision started just as an idea to educate everyone on black history in a way that is different from other lessons.
The choral and drama departments at Charlottesville High School put their ideas into words to create their play.

"It was just something we wanted to do to make people not necessarily proud, but to stand-up to say hey, this is what we could do," added Johnson.

'Straight from the Soul' features a diverse cast of 55 students who have never performed in a play. In addition to acting, all can now say they have written scripts, choreographed dances, or produced songs.

Their drama teacher, who worked as the play's director, knew after the student's first performance that the play was a success.

"Oh, they were just...I felt a little tear in my eye. I looked over at my wife at the Performing Arts Center, we both said this is something different. I got home that night, and wrote in my journal saying wow, this is a watermark in my teaching career," said Drama Teacher David Small.

'Straight from the Soul' could also be the start of 55 careers.

"I felt a huge sense of pride. Not only for myself, but for everyone who was involved, and a sense of accomplishment. I was really proud because it was like seeing a baby come to life," added Small.

The play was written by the students last October, and they have been performing at schools throughout Central Virginia for about a month.

Tuesday's performances were at Fluvanna County High and Middle schools.

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