ROSELLE, NJ - Some may say Madame Tussauds famous wax museum has nothing on Abraham Clark High School’s very own “Living Wax Museum.”
In honor of Black History Month, students in the high school’s Drama I class were challenged with researching a historical or modern-day African American person of significance to learn all about their life in order to create one- to two-minute dialogue.
The students then turned the school’s auditorium into their Living Wax Museum as they stood perfectly still on stage – armed with a prop that represented their hero – as other students approached to learn who they were representing. Select classes were able to visit this pop-up museum throughout the day on Feb. 28.
Each wax figure sported a “push” button on their shoulder for attendees to press, which prompted the drama students to begin their monologues. If their button wasn’t pushed, as part of this role play, the students could not speak.
Famous figures that were highlighted included Whitney Houston, Lorraine Hansberry and Michelle Obama.
This is the third-annual installation of the school’s Living Wax Museum; it is the second year it's been done in connection with Black History Month.
These drama students also took a trip to the Roselle Preschool earlier this month so the borough’s youngest scholars could learn about the significance of these historical figures.
“I’m just so proud of our students. This project is more than just learning about Black History Month; it teaches students how to be on stage and about public speaking,” said Samantha Santangelo, an English and drama teacher who orchestrates the project each year.
For Santangelo and many of the student performers, the program had an added benefit: getting live experience on stage.
“This is a great additional performance for our drama students because it helps them with memorization and time management –two critical aspects of on-stage performances,” Santangelo said.
Some students mentioned that learning the monologue and having to perform in front of their peers was nerve-wracking at first but that the wax museum has helped them perfect their skills.
“The high school’s Living Wax Museum was the perfect ending to the school’s Black History Month celebrations. It was a chance to show off our talented students while honoring the heroes of our past and present,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. James Baker.
You can see many of these drama students in ACHS’s production of “Almost Maine,” coming to the stage this spring.
Students will be performing “Almost Maine” on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4. Both showings will be at 7:30 p.m.
For ticket information, visit achs.roselleschools.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-298-2000.