“I won’t grow up! I won’t grow up!” sang a line up of students in Act II of Keystone’s first Spring Theatre Festival. This Peter Pan number was among the track of songs in the musical revue called ‘Become’. The musical extravaganza centered on students “tackling tough questions about what it means to grow up, struggle with adolescence and “become” who they are truly meant to be,” explains secondary school Drama teacher, R. Allen Babcock. “Students sing, dance and even provide the piano and instrumental accompaniment to the production.”
There was also some growing up in Act I of the festival. The show begins with three short plays directed by our first grade 11 IBDP Theatre students. Alex Broun’s While You Were Sleeping was directed by Lily Bing and Xenia Liu. Tennessee Williams’ Summer At The Lake was directed by Jacky Liang and Mario Jerez. Wendy Wasserstein’s Waiting For Phillip Glass was directed by Phoebe Sun and Sasha Onyango. Each team of directors has also “become” over the last three months of bringing their respective plays together. “I think the hardest part for me was to get used to the fact that the actor also has a vision of the character. It was hard for me to compromise my visualization of the character we were directing. Now I know that it is part of directing,” reflects Mario.
Phoebe agrees, “Yes, this is hard. When I have acted in plays before, I never understood why Mr. Babcock made very specific requests of me as an actor. Now as a director, I understand better. And the embodiment of a character is the coming together of the director’s and actor’s visions.” Co-director Sasha reiterates that building a play’s character is the most challenging aspect of producing a play. And when everything comes together – the characters, costumes, lights, sounds, and set – “there is nothing more rewarding,” exclaims Jacky.
According to Mr. Babcock, this is an opportunity for multiple small productions to perform showcasing the work of both students and faculty directors. It also provides the community the opportunity to see a wide variety of theatrical forms with different thematic focuses and modes of delivery. “The IBDP Theatre students are using this experience as a laboratory to put into practice techniques and skills learned in the classroom.” While they learn and practice, they are also becoming, changing, growing because each students wants this:
I wanna see me from where I begun
But I'm afraid to be
Who I am, who I want to become!
(Lyrics from the musical, Edges)