Fourth-grade students at Joaquin Miller Elementary School presented the play Imaginary Heroes in the school auditorium on Thursday evening, March 15.
The play follows the journey of young students in the Imaginary Friends Academy as they gain confidence and learn how to deal with bullies as they venture out into the Real World.
“The play starts and ends with music from the opera Carmen by Bizet,” said retired Miller teacher John Ossiff, who continues to volunteer his time with the Miller Theatre Department. “We have added our own lyrics. There is also music from several other sources.”
More than half the fourth-grade class were interested in participating in Imaginary Heroes, noted Ossiff. Auditions and rehearsal began in mid-January and 34 students made up the cast and crew. The students typically rehearsed during lunch period and occasionally in the mornings before class started.
Miller Elementary is a Title 1 school with a student body of about 750, and approximately one-third of the students are English Language Learners, explained Ossiff. Over a dozen home languages are spoken by Miller families, including Armenian, Arabic, Spanish, Tagalog, Russian, Korean,and Farsi.
“For several years Miller has presented both a fourth- and fifth-grade original play written by Miller teachers.,” explained Ossiff. “For the past two years, we have also presented an original Kindergarten play.”
“Classes from other grades have also presented theatrical presentations, either on stage in the auditorium, in the Miller courtyard, or in the classroom. In all cases, we have found that participation in performing arts greatly increases student language skills and increases self confidence in all areas.”