Published Jan. 21, 2020
By SOPHIA BONE
Despite the barriers of online teaching, Carmel High School drama teacher Gracie Poletti continues to use her past knowledge of working in Hollywood to further the education of her students by adding new aspects of performing to the curriculum.
While changing her curriculum to fit the distance-learning format last semester, Poletti decided to add units that included what she had done in her past: voice and film acting. Drama students are used to live performances, but Poletti wants to prepare her students for careers in all types of performing and explains that these different skills are vital to know.
“It’s just really a matter of adapting,” Poletti says. “There are things that can be learned and be applied to our new world. Voiceovers and film acting are some of these things, and I know that all these skills are going to be beneficial.”
With 22 years of Hollywood acting under her belt, Poletti has more than enough experience on the subject. Two of her most notable projects have included “The Secret World of Arrietty,” where she played Aunt Jessica, and “The Walking Dead,” for which she made zombie noises that can be heard in the background of the show. The teacher was also a stand-up comedian and taught acting classes.
Poletti was planning on returning to Los Angeles last summer to perform again at a higher scale. After four years of teaching at CHS and finally having an empty nest after her youngest of three graduated last year, it seemed like the perfect time to return to acting full-time. When COVID-19 struck and her family came back home, she decided to continue teaching.
Staying in Carmel has allowed Poletti to direct another production at CHS: “She Kills Monsters.” This play was rewritten to make it easier to produce through Zoom and has allowed students to put their new film skills to use. Poletti even gave some of the cast green screens to use while filming.
“We are learning so much about this new type of acting and technology through ‘She Kills Monsters,’” Poletti notes. “This has been quite the experience and learning curve for us all.”