INSIGHT: Embracing Duality 

By Ginger Ellingson, Director of Fine & Performing Arts


A Journey of Discovery Through Fine & Performing Arts

In the closing line of The Addams Family, Lurch sings, “Move toward the darkness and Love,” concluding the cast’s verse, “Move toward the darkness, welcome in your pain. Let each foreign forest offer you its rain. Only at our weakest can we learn what’s there. When you face your nightmares, then you’ll know what’s real. Move toward the darkness and feel.”

Each year the Fine & Performing Arts choose a theme to unite the programming for the year. The theme offers us a lens through which we tell stories, learn lessons, and derive value. This year’s theme is Discovery. Duality is present in all of our stories this year, journey and destination, heartache and love, tragedy and strength, personal and cultural identity, darkness and light, differences and similarities. Perhaps the big-picture Discovery in these stories is that many things can be, and usually are, true at once.

In the fall production of The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo discovered his love of learning about the world and himself, that both the journey and the destination are important. December’s concert performed by the Chamber Music Ensemble and Chamber Choir was inspired by “Angsty Love”. The duality of angst and love is a source of musical inspiration that stands the test of time, and the composers represented that evening included a range from Mendelssohn to Adele. The human journey of pain for love and connection persists across time and space, expressed, and perhaps salved with music.

In last week’s Upper School show, Radium Girls, the cast tells a tragic story of personal, medical, and legal discovery, as protagonist Grace Fryer found within her the resolve to fight against power structures that benefited from obscuring the truth in her case against the US Radium Corporation, which sickened and killed young factory workers from exposure to radium.

With never a dull moment in the Arts, a quick teardown of the Radium Girls set made space for a musical celebration of Black History Month in the Middle School assembly with a performance by the Chamber Music Ensemble of music by Samuel Coleridge-Talyor, Nathaniel Dett, and Florence Price. Through study and performance, the audience and musicians traversed time and space experiencing music as an expression of culture and identity.

After yet another quick turnaround in the theatre, next week February 12-15, students grades five through twelve are invited to audition for the spring musical The Addams Family. This is the comical and dark story of Wednesday, a young woman, discovering her own identity and path forward in an unusual family. As Wednesday and Lucas navigate familial differences poised to tear them apart, what the families discover in the end is that perhaps they, just like all of us, aren’t so different after all.