Actors rehearse for this weekend's opening of "I Thought I Saw a Seagull." Photo by Sally Cohn
Actors rehearse for this weekend's opening of "I Thought I Saw a Seagull." The cast includes students (right, from top) Leah Fortes, Tony Canha, Jackie Menton, and Lucas Amarios with adult actors (left, from top) Jill Macy and Gwen Hardy with Tisbury teaching assistant Jan Ovios. Photo by Sally Cohn

Stories from the fourth grade

By Anna Marie D'Addarie - February 2, 2006

With boundless enthusiasm, some young Island students are racing toward the first of three opening nights for the Fourth Grade Theater Project. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Tisbury School fourth grade classes will present two original plays, the culmination of a 10-week program with the Vineyard Playhouse.

From the beginning of the process the students are in charge. Theater is very much a team activity, and the students can join the artistic, production, or technical team. Working together, the students in each fourth-grade class write, rehearse, and produce their own plays.

The program is led by Vineyard Playhouse artistic director MJ Bruder Munafo. Ms. Munafo and Sheryl Dagostino help the students work their characters, settings, and plots into completed scripts. The playhouse receives support for the project from the Farm Neck Foundation and the Martha's Vineyard Cooperative Bank.

This weekend's opening belongs to the Tisbury School fourth-graders, who have produced "I Thought I Heard a Seagull," a play with a woman president and an ecology theme, and "Magnetic Mayhem," a comedy that begins when a teacher and some students lose a football at recess.

The Oak Bluffs fourth grade will take the playhouse stage on Saturday, Feb. 11, with three original plays: "Baseball Boogie," "Math + Sleep : Dreams = Danger," and "Ballet Mooves."

On Saturday, Feb. 18, the West Tisbury and Chilmark schools will perform three plays, also original: "Colonel Tinkle's Wrong Turn," "What's That Teeny Red Planet?" and "On the Right Side of the Plate."

Fourth Grade Theater Project, Saturday, Feb. 4, 11, and 18, 3 pm and 7 pm, Vineyard Playhouse, Church Street, Vineyard Haven. Feb. 4: Tisbury School. Feb. 11: Oak Bluffs School. Feb. 18: West Tisbury School and Chilmark School.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children, available at the door. 508-696-6300 or visit