This happened in Somerville
Crumble! Crackle! Slam! Bam! Walls falling apart, the floor’s ready to break; it’s disastrous! Imagine, you’re dancing on stage, smiling at the audience as the light is gleaming on your face and all of a sudden you trip. You fall straight to the groundas time seems slower the moment you fall and a giant piece of wood is sticking out of the stage ready to stab you in the face. You think to yourself, “This would have never happened if they fixed this terribly old stage.” You’re practically risking your life just standing on the Somerville High School auditorium. It’s falling to bits and pieces and ready to hurt you.
This auditorium goes all the way back to 1872. It was once a beautiful stage for people all over the city to perform on. Harry Ellis Dickson, a famous violinist performed on this very stage. Daniel Bernard Roumain, another famous violinist and Keith Lockheart, a pianist had also performed at the Somerville High School in 2010 for more than 700 people. The Somerville High stage is about 120 years old- unbelievable right? It’s now 2011 and it’s nothing but rubbish and a danger zone, It practically screams “DANGER!” But does that stop us from performing on it knowing the risks? No.
This stage has been open to actors, band performers, dancers, singers, musicals, concerts, speakers, and more! And now, it’s just falling apart. Every time the floor squeaks it sounds as if it was crying do to the damage it has been in. When I first got to see more than just the auditorium (like the side wings and backstagearea) I saw walls crumbling, the floor breaking and pieces of dust and plaster everywhere.
Can you imagine practicing on stage for the Drama Club and all of a sudden you smell something so repulsive like something died? It’s so bad to the point where it triggers your gag reflex and you want to vomit due to the revolting smell that has to go through your nose. This year, the cast of Willy Wonka was practicing in January as two men were cleaning under the stage. That nasty foul smell of death turned out to be a decomposed pigeon, but of course it was just a carcass now. During the second night of the Willy Wonka my cast mate Patrick and I were sitting in the left wing and out of nowhere. “CRASH!” We looked around and wondered if anyone else had heard it besides us. I started to see a bunch of dust flying out of the small room and a huge chunk of plaster lying on the floor.
Next, as Dance Club started up, it was getting close to the Spring Concert. Practicing the choreography my teacher Karen Woods was giving us, I ducked down and my finger got stabbed by a huge piece of wood just sticking straight up from the stage; I started to bleed and it stung for a good 5 minutes. It’s wasn’t too serious, but what if it was? As Karen Woods taught us some more moves, she was close to stepping on a nail popping out of the stage and she wasn’t wearing any shoes. I’ve noticed bits and pieces of wood tearing off the stage floor, and the stage is practically starting to rot. What if all of a sudden someone is dancing on stage and all you hear is the wood crackling then SNAP! Someone end up falling through the floor into a gapping black hole and never to return like they never existed in the first place, but of course that won’t literally happy. It’s terrifying just too even think about what’s been under there for the past 100 years. The Somerville High auditorium officially belongs to the City of Somerville, so why haven’t they done anything to fix it?
People that have performed on that stage multiple times want to fix this stage. They all think that it’s un-safe, gross and hazardous, and that the City should help fix it so there are not risks of performers getting hurt. The auditorium shouldn’t just be fixed because the students want it to be, but out of respect for the different groups and departments that work on that stage. Other departments are respected and get the things they need to keep the department running so why shouldn’t we the people who love the arts or the people who are on that stage get the one and only thing they request? I’ve heard ideas from students like sending pictures of the broken stage, crumbling walls, and damaged equipment to the city or writing letters about their concerns toward the auditorium. I took the time to interview three teachers at the Somerville High School to get there opinion and what they have to say about this situation.
Romanoff (Band Teacher and Musical Director).
Curtis Eames (Drama Teacher and Actor) and
Rick Saunders (Music Director, jazz and rockmusician and Music Teacher).
I have concluded that the Somerville High School auditorium should be fixed. Things that need to be fixed are ventilation, the walls, the stage, the electrical system, the chairs, curtains, graffiti, and the fly. Just imagine as someone tries to pull up the fly and ties it, and as one person is standing under it the fly snaps and crushes that person almost killing them because it was unevenly balanced. Or working the lights and you get electrocuted because the electrical system was never fixed. The auditorium is one giant safety hazard and health issue. There is the problem of lack of funding and there is not enough money for professionals to fix it, but it’s still an embarrassment to have not only important people, but people in general to walk into that auditorium and end up sitting in a broken chair, and have to look at how un-safe and awful our stage is.
Does the City of Somerville care? There is no exact answer, but I know most people DO care. I’ve learned at the High School about a thing called OSHA. It stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They should do something about our stage because there is no way that it’s safe with no health problems. In my opinion, I care about this auditorium. An idea I even have is to get former students from the Somerville High School that worked in the trades we have to help fix it over the summer. We already have the tools and material, and maybe it won’t be as much of a huge cost as it would for professionals. If you care about the Somerville High School auditorium and feel someone should do something about it, don’t be afraid to speak up and find ways to get it fixed. Everyone has a right to shine on that stage without the thought of risk happening. Just imagine how much longer it can last once it has been fixed and looks beautiful as it was once before. Image, the stage is fixed and brand new, the stage floors are shiny and clean, the walls are smooth and freshly painted. No more problems with the electrical system and the fly is easy to work with; The chairs are fixed and ready to be sat on and the minute you walk into the auditorium there’s a smile on your face as you look at the newly improved stage and the first thing you say to yourself is “Beautiful, just beautiful.”