Malden High School English Language Learner (ELL) students, together with teachers and school-to-career students, got together on November 13th, 2019 to watch the Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, a play at Boston University.
Roald Dahl was a spy, an ace fighter pilot, a chocolate historian, and a medical inventor. He is also the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which is what the play was based on.
Watching the play, it was really clear they wanted to stress the importance of being kind to one another, to put life in perspective and to put others first.
The play lasted for around two hours and it had two sections with a break of ten minutes between each scene. Teachers and students had snacks they could eat during the breaks and the audience was mostly students from schools around the area of Boston.
Patrice Duggan is an ELL teacher at Malden High School and was the field’s trip organizer. She volunteered behind the scenes, helped plan the props and costumes, wrapped the wonka chocolate bar, and did whatever they needed help with.
There were about fifteen members of the youth cast performing, including middle schoolers, one of which was Duggan’s son. Duggan says she was “really proud to see [her] son on stage, following his dream. It made [her] heart full.” She was also happy with the opportunity to take the students to see live theater, as “it is not everyday that you get a chance to go to Boston and see live performers singing and dancing and telling a story.”
According to Duggan, the theme of Willy Wonka is really important, which is to “be kind,” because it relates to what she has been teaching in class, with the novel Wonder by R.J Palacio.