Middle, upper school actors explore themes of growing up in ‘Childhood and Other Natural Disasters’

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Photo credit: Sabrina Kim

Echo Meadows ('25) and Belén Haro ('26) rehearse a sword fighting routine for the all-school play, "Childhood and Other Natural Disasters." The scene they were rehearsing for was about revising fairytales through a modern lens.

Childhood is filled with a multitude of experiences, from humor and happiness to hardships and sadness — all topics writer and director Tracy Poverstein explores in the all-school play “Childhood and Other Natural Disasters.” The show, playing December 13-14, consists of actresses from both middle school and upper school, making it Archer’s first all-school play since 2016.

“Since Ms. Pov wrote the show, it’s never been done before, so it’s interesting to…have the experience on the playwright’s point of view,” Gordon said.

This is the second play that Poverstein has written. Since it was published in 2018, her first play, “Camp Stowaways,” has been performed in eight schools nationwide.

“I love when Ms. Pov writes the shows because it just feels more personal, not only to her but to all of us and to Archer,” assistant director Ava Rothenberg (’22) said. “It feels more like our show than any other show that I’ve done before.”

The current show is comprised of scenes showcasing the various stages of childhood, such as birth and graduation. It centers around a girl named Olivia, played by seventh grader Bryce Collis, whose mother Brenda died of cancer when she was very young.

“I feel like [Olivia] really finds herself at the end when she stops focusing on what she’s lost in her life,” Rothenberg said. “Whether you’re a sixth-grader or an adult, everyone can relate to that experience.”

Stage manager Quincy Gordon (’22) said her most memorable experiences working on the play come from working with middle-schoolers.

“I’ve been doing tech since I started Archer,” Gordon said, “so I always get to meet new people every year and get closer to the middle-schoolers.”

Similarly, Collis said that her “favorite part” is being able to learn from and perform with upper schoolers.

“You … see all the little things that [the upper schoolers are] doing that just make their characters seem so real and less of a caricature,” she said. “I feel so lucky that I get to act with them.”

“Childhood and Other Natural Disasters” was performed at 7:30 p.m. on December 13 and will also show at 3:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on December 14.