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‘Time Machine’ used to bring history to life

Students prep for CRCT

Jackson High School theater fundamentals students take a bow after performing the play “Time Machine” for third-graders at Stark Elementary School on Thursday, March 21.

Jackson High School theater fundamentals students take a bow after performing the play “Time Machine” for third-graders at Stark Elementary School on Thursday, March 21.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a time machine to go back and study history when it happened?

That’s exactly what third-grader Eugene and his friends do in the original play, “Time Machine,” created by Jackson High School theater fundamentals students.

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Jackson High School theater fundamentals students Michael Finocchiaro (left) is Paul Revere and Lacey Little is a Bostonian who panics after learning that the British are coming in the JHS original play “Time Machine” at Stark Elementary School on Thursday, March 21.

JHS students in Megan Rose-Houchins and Stephen Crocker’s classes took their historically based play on the road March 20 and March 21 to perform for every third-grade class in the Butts County Schools system.

The high school students wrote and directed the play to help the elementary students prepare for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, or CRCT, Rose-Houchins said.

The state-mandated test requires students in third- through eighth-grades to be tested in reading, language arts, math, science and social studies. Elementary school students in Butts County Schools are slated to take the test between April 23 and May 3.

“‘Time Machine’ is a little bit of review while you guys are getting ready to take the CRCT,” Rose-Houchins told the audience at Stark Elementary, adding, “Do a great job on your CRCT later.”

The play opens with Eugene talking to his classmates about his invention of the first time machine. The other students laugh in disbelief, but soon they are all traveling through the centuries to witness history firsthand.

In their adventures, they meet Paul Revere, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Mary Bethune, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, Lyndon B. Johnson and Cesar Chavez.

In the end, the audience learns that it was all a dream, or was it? Just like in the action film, “Total Recall,” the audience is never quite sure.

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Jackson High School theater fundamentals students Alik Browning (from left), Jake McKibben as Frederick Douglass, and Taylor Green perform the play “Time Machine” for third-graders at Stark Elementary School.

Stark Elementary School third-grader Joanna Bailey said her favorite part of the play was when a Bostonian, played by Lacey Little, is awakened by Paul Revere, played by Michael Finocchiaro, and then runs across the stage yelling, “The British are coming.”

Classmate Hannah Ford said her favorite historical figure featured in the play was Mary Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman College and civil rights activist.

“She taught a good lesson to them and she helped the African Americans learn,” Hannah said.

The JHS theater fundamentals students were responsible for every aspect of the play, Rose-Houchins said.

“This was a big project because they had to research the historical figures, write the play, build a time machine and all of the props and costumes,” she said.