Shaker High students present inclusive play

COLONIE – It’s the final week of rehearsals for "Frankenstein" at Shaker High School.

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Student Alex Doering auditioned for it. He’s playing Dr. Frankenstein.

"Because I figured I could do a good job, and I’m confident I could be the person who I am to be in the play," he said.

The students are with the Adult Transition Program. They call themselves the Bison Bravo Club, and they rehearse under the direction of teacher Christina Manion.

Alex says he’s ready.

"I just have a big memory storage inside that helps me remember, and I just practice the lines before doing the actual play," he said.

This was the first time Alex’s mother saw him in rehearsal.

"I was so surprised to see how far he’s come and to see how well he’s doing," said Gail Doering, with a big smile. "I have a few people who are coming on Friday, and they’re going to be really shocked to see how he performs."

"It’s amazing!" she continued. "It’s amazing how much time and effort, and not just Christina, all the staff behind the stage, they’re doing such a good job to get these kids to work together as a team. I’m so impressed by everything they’re doing."

There’s a network of people that helps to make this a success, with support from students and teachers for the set, props, music, and even refreshments. Staff members work closely with the performers.

Just ask Alex what it’s like being up there on stage.

"It makes me feel good, confident, proud," he said. "All those good emotions!"

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"The students work all year on building confidence, and trying to be proud of themselves and understand what that means and what work it takes to get there," said special education teacher Christina Manion. "So being on the stage, they raise the bar. They exceed their own expectations of what they think they can do, and they shine – and the excitement, you can feel the energy on the day of the show. It’s really awesome."