Berkshire Country Day Schoolers 'Duck and Cover' from what scares them


Photo Gallery l 'Duck and Cover'

LENOX - A nuclear attack. Spiders. A zit on your nose.

People's fears, great and small, will be hashed out and humored this weekend as students from Berkshire Country Day School present their original theatrical production, "Duck and Cover."

The title, as well as some script and audio material used for the play are adapted from the 1951 U.S. Defense Department film, instructing people how to respond when threatened by an atomic bomb attack.

"This play is about all the fears everyone has and how much people can get scared over one little thing," said Lukeus Gore, 13. He and 10 other seventhand eighth-graders produced a script based on their own fears, and the fears of their friends and families, with the guidance of director Amy Brentano, who's also a parent.

"The idea started to develop when all summer long, I'd see and hear all these news stories of scary things happening," Brentano said. "I began thinking how incidents like the Newtown massacre affect our kids and how we as parents worry for them."

During a series of written, visual and oral exercises, students illustrated, ranked and wrote about their fears and interviewed their parents about parents' fears for their children.

As Brentano observed what things came up, she realized how fears can be relayed through parents. The students also began to note similar and differing fears among themselves.

"We don't really worry about the same things [as adults do]. Instead of thinking about war, I tend to worry about my phone cracking," said Jakob Brattke, 12.

"You can't really live life if all you worry about is the future and what can happen, which is why we tend to think more about the little things," said Alex Lederman, 14.

Some students, however, maintain a healthy awareness of what may challenge them in life.

Samantha Elliott will soon turn 14.

"Life is coming at me full speed," she said. "Sometimes I think about the resources we have today and how there's a chance they aren't going to be there when I'm 30."

The group of theater students said learning about and sharing their deepest fears has informed them about how others might be feeling on a day-to-day basis. Some students said the process also taught them to be more mindful of what people might think and how they'd react to a fear, be it bullying, a break-up or a death of a loved one.

"It's opened up my mind to what's going on in the world," said 13-year-old Bella Currie.

Brentano said she's impressed with how the students tackled some tough and personal subject matter for the stage.

"They were willing to go to a place where they could break perceptions of what theater could be and challenge the audience to put their own fears to the test too," she said.

If you go ...

What: 'Duck and Cover,' an original theatrical production

When: 2 and 7 p.m. today and 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Berkshire Country Day School's Winthrop Theater, 45 West St, Lenox

Cost: Donations suggested at the door


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