The lower school library department’s 19th Annual Ogre Awards had a science fiction spin this year, with the very existence of humanity being threatened by alien beings from the Dewey Decimal System.
On the afternoon of March 19, the Bucknall gym became the futuristic setting for “The BKN Millennium Eagle,” the alien starship commanded by Captain Clark (aka lower school librarian Kathy Clark).
The plot? The aliens planned to demolish Earth to make way for a new intergalactic superhighway. But first, Clark and her crew (aka fellow librarian Katrina Nye, along with the grade 2 homeroom teachers) decide to research earthlings and assess if they might be worth saving. (To conduct their findings, they used the “super 3” research techniques taught in the lower school library.)
“The heart of any civilization lives in the stories they pass down to their children. So now it is up to the characters from our folk and fairy tales to make the case for all humanity. They will teach our alien visitors about our hopes and fears, morals and values, strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps we are not so different from our alien brothers and sisters after all! Can our stories save humanity or will the aliens close the book on Earth?” asks the program for the Ogre Awards (informally known as “The Ogres”), summing up the show’s clever premise.
Performed by grade 2 students (otherwise known as the Ogre Academy), the awards show was dedicated to the characters of 21 classic folk and fairy tales, as well as the storytellers who created them. The beloved production was created by former library director Enid Davis. Since her retirement three years ago, the library department has proudly carried on the tradition of producing The Ogres with Danny Dunn, technical director of the Bucknall Theater. Dunn now serves as both the show’s writer and director.
“This year is an homage to science fiction – our own modern fairy tales,” explained Dunn, adding that The Ogres are also an important part of the library curriculum. “The kids are bringing the folk and fairy tales they learned to life!” she enthused.
In addition to her role as the alien captain of the research vessel, mistress of ceremonies Clark was in charge of The Ogre’s educational aspect, telling the stories to the students, leading them in discussions and assisting them in voting on their favorites. Her son, Daniel Clark ’10, served as stage manager (and formerly played the role of Anansi the spider in his grade 2 Ogres many years ago).
The second graders enthusiastically portrayed the show’s cast of characters and creatures from the folklore of cultures around the world, including enchanted royalty, witches, fools, tricksters, heroines, villains and siblings.
All but one of The Ogre Awards are bestowed upon fairytale characters. A special Ogre Award is given each year to a member of the Harker community who provides exceptional service or support to the Harker libraries. This year that honor went to the lower school facilities department. Maintenance director Dan Rohrer accepted the 2015 Special Ogre Award for Lifetime Achievement on behalf of his team, many of whom joined him onstage. Another highlight of the Ogre Awards was the much-anticipated Best Folk or Fairy Tale Award, which this year went to the Spanish tale “The Water of Life.”
Production for the show was made possible by The Harker Federation of Planets, along with a dedicated team of faculty, staff and parent volunteers.
Concluding the show, Sarah Leonard, primary school head, made a surprise guest appearance as the Grand Arch Chancellor of Intergalactic Transportation, whose job it was to make the final determination on the fate of the earth. Thankfully, it was determined that the wish for a happy ending is universal, and the earth was saved … ensuring that humankind, as well as The Ogres, will go on!