Decatur Students Create 'Into the Woods' Exhibit

Alliance Theater invited art students to demonstrate themes for the hit musical.

advanced art students hit the ground running at the first toll of the school bell this year. 

The mission for the 46 students was to create an exhibit of art work illustrating the Alliance Theater’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

 With school starting on Aug. 2, students had less than a month to complete their work and install it by the date of the first performance, Aug. 31.

In preparation for the assignment they studied the script and watched performances of the musical, said Wendy Keith-Ott, visual arts teacher at Decatur High School.  

Their work could reflect a direct illustration of a scene, a major concept or explore one of the character’s wishes.

“It was a tough, open-ended assignment,” Keith-Ott said. “Students had to decide on the size, medium and perspective of their pieces and frame their work for hanging.”

The Alliance Theater also wanted the exhibit to be interactive. So in addition to their own work, students worked collectively to construct a 10-foot-high paipier mache tree.

Visitors can reach inside a hole in the tree, take a leaf, write a wish and attach it to a branch. 

“The comments on the exhibit have been very complimentary,” said Keith-Ott. “We’ve gotten several e-mails telling us the work looks above high school level.”

“Into the Woods,” is a musical based on the book by James Lapine. It was first performed at the Old Globe Theatre in 1986 and premiered on Broadway in 1987, with Bernadette Peters as the Witch and Joanna Gleason as the Baker’s Wife.

The plot intertwines several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows the path of a baker and his wife on their journey to begin a family.

The exhibit is on display at Gallery 100 at the Woodruff Arts Center through Oct. 2.



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