Providence — Glenn Zienowicz does more than just teach junior high school students how to perform. He teaches them how to fly.
Known as Zin, Zienowicz encouraged Nathan Bishop Middle School students to reach deep into the adolescent soul and create college-level performance. Parents and students say that everything he touches, such as costumes, sets, and lights, turns into magic.
But this fall, Ginovic is gone, his drama lessons are electives, computer science is being introduced instead, and demand is rising, according to the school district. The drama club will continue after school, but parents and students say the drama wouldn’t change without him.
The district promises that its beloved theater club will continue to thrive.
“Nathan Bishop is committed to continuing its acclaimed after-school theater program and is beginning to contact community partners to engage in this work next year,” a spokeswoman for Providence Public School said. Spokesperson Audrey Lucas said.
But parents and teachers are thinking differently.
“If the school eliminates Glen, so does the club,” said Donna Perotta, a former English teacher who worked with Ginovic. “When thinking about a great school, the foundation is always art. He is real.”
Zienowicz doesn’t do half-hearted things. When he staged “Alice in Wonderland,” he abandoned the script (“they were stupid”) and wrote a new one. He had a Brown University student write music and staged it as steampunk.
“The kids were involved in making the original work,” he said. “It’s not your typical junior high school work.”
He created “Antigone” on the front stairs of the Bishop and set it up for the fascist regime.
He completed a version of the fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as Kabuki-za with a handmade kimono.
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But nothing beats the school performance of “Peter Pan”. Zienowicz hired a professional company to teach some adults and students how to fly literally.
Sylvia Villeno, a student of Classical High School, played Peter Pan. A few hours before dawn, she fell at a friend’s house and was taken to the emergency room, where she stabbed 16 needles in her forehead. It was.
But when the curtain went up, Jin jumped onto the stage and explained to the audience that the leading actor was injured. Then he invited the members of the cast to sing. The performance, which was discontinued as it was, was praised.
The next night, Sylvia flew off the rafters, like Peter Pan, who left the scars of the battle.
“He cares more than any teacher I’ve ever received,” Sylvia said on Wednesday. “It was a huge event that made me today. ”
Sylvia’s mother, Diane Villeno, said Ginovic helped the students and kept the hurdles high.
The reward was worth it. Shy children have become more confident. Nerds have learned to excel in sets and lighting. It was a tough situation like Zienowicz, but everyone had a role, including students with special needs.
Steve Wilson jokingly blames Jin’s theater career. He studied tips at Ginovic’s Theater Club at Exetter West Greenwich High School and is now the production manager for Theater by the Sea in South Kingstown.
“He made everyone crazy,” said 28-year-old Wilson. I couldn’t say the reason. Many educators spoil their children. Not messed up in his class.
“When I was in school, he usually worked with children with social problems who didn’t want to be part of a big group. Some of them were the protagonists of the show. He was them. You will find a way to connect with and ask them to do things that no one has ever asked them to do.
“If you lose him, you’ll lose the program,” Wilson said. “It will return to a mundane school program.”
Zin invited the community to participate in the success of his drama club. Parents devoted the weekend to costume making and assembly sets. Experts from a local troupe offered his theater students a “master” class.
Soon, as one parent said, rumors spread that these plays were “off-Broadway quality.” It didn’t take long for the 500-seat theater to fill up. One of the school’s crossing guards became a regular.
Everrett Hoag, a corporate event producer and theater design teacher, donated $ 20,000 worth of costumes, fabrics, hangers, and even a trash can to the theater club. This turned the club into a prestigious design center.
Zienowicz taught students to believe in magic. Because that is the purpose of the play, to stop distrust. More importantly, he taught them to believe in themselves and become part of the bigger ones.
“When I see the work, the singer and the dancer all have the same voice. That’s magic,” Hogue said. “It’s more than the number of kids actually entering the theater. This experience is the gateway to getting up and telling your boss,” Why do we have to do this? ” .. ”
Zienowicz doesn’t know where to land. If he can’t find a job as an English teacher, the school district will find a job for him somewhere.
On the drama club’s Facebook page, he said goodbye in 15 languages.
“From the bottom of my heart, I was integrated from Nathan Bishop.”
Linda Borg is in charge of education for the journal.