Two students "run the show" at Western New York high school

Posted at 10:16 PM, May 10, 2018

This time last year, Newfane High School didn't have a spring play. It didn't even have a drama program. Thanks to the hard work of two students, the club is back and, this year, the play goes on.

Carissa Clarcq and Anthony Chavers got the idea to restart the drama club from an assignment Carissa did for one of her classes. She wrote a paper about keeping the arts in schools and they decided to do just that.

The two 10th graders were involved in the school musicals the past few years, but wanted to do a play. So they recruited Ashley Kuma, the school's physics teacher, to be the supervisor.

"To say I have zero musical talent, zero art skills, that's still being a bit generous," she joked.

This was last fall. Now that they had a club, they needed a play.

So the two students decided to write it themselves.

"It feels amazing," Carissa said. "It's so cool to see it out there in the world with people performing the stuff you've written."

"It was a lot harder than we thought," Anthony explained. "Mainly getting everybody together and everything together was the hardest part, really."

They chose the story of Peter Pan, knowing it's a story people of all ages could enjoy. So they adapted an original script from J.M. Barrie's classic Peter and Wendy.

They spent a few weeks working on the script, tweaking it and changing it, until they got it just right.

They named their play Peter and the Darlings. It's even available to purchase on Amazon.

On top of starting the club and writing the play, Carissa and Anthony are also acting in the show and directing it.

"The most impressive thing to watch is just how well rounded the two of them are and how able they are to keep on top of everything that life is throwing them right now," Kuma said.

Peter and the Darlings takes the stage Saturday evening, May 12 at 7 o'clock. It's being held at the Newfane Middle School auditorium. Tickets are $5 and available for purchase at the door.

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