, Gloucester, MA

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June 12, 2007

All on their own: Elementary school students write, direct play on environment

Learning about global warming and the environment so fascinated Gloucester third-graders Ella Beyer and Martine Geary-Souza, they wrote and directed a play on the topics.

"Lost in the Adventures of the Rain Forest," a play written, directed and cast by Beyer and Geary-Souza at West Parish Elementary School, drives home the message of protecting the world's rain forests and the animals that live there.

"We're trying to save the rain forests" Beyer said. "They are really dying."

Beyer and Geary-Souza said they hope their play helps to raise awareness about the fate of rain forests.

"The school has been focusing on global warming and environmental stuff," music teacher Kathleen Dailey said. "This play is an offshoot of what the students have been working on all year."

Dailey said Beyer and Geary-Souza came to her with a play they had written in January and asked her for permission to use the school's auditorium and stage. Since then, a group of 11 pupils has used recess as well as time before and after school to construct props and perfect their play.

Friday morning, the cast performed the play in front of classmates, teachers and family members for the first time.

"These students are very, very courageous to have the nerve to write a play and perform it for all for you," Dailey said to the audience assembled in the auditorium.

"Give the cast a round of applause before they start," she added.

The play follows the adventures of Lizzy, Marsee and Julia, three girls who find themselves in the rain forest after accidentally falling out of an airplane window on their way to visit an uncle in Argentina. (The airplane is named "Dailey Air" in honor of the teacher who gave them the space to make their dream a reality.)

The girls encounter some friendly rain forest animals - a cheetah, a monkey, a leopard and a tiger - and stumble upon food, water and adequate shelter. The girls, who eventually are rescued by a trio of explorers, return home with a newfound respect for the rain forest.

In the final scene, the girls reminisce about their experiences in the rain forest:

Lizzy: The rain forest was so beautiful.

Marsee: I know.

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