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 Devising Theater
An inside look at the making of a theater production at FIS
FIS Upper School theater faculty, Jez Gregg and Daniel Sarstedt, seized an opportunity to create
something extremely original for November’s Grade 9–12 theater production, which is both exciting and challenging for the students involved and will give the audience an extraordinary theater experience.
After a lot of consideration and get- ting to know the students involved, Mr. Gregg and Mr. Sarstedt arrived at a creative concept for the pro- duction they call Devised Jukebox. Devised Jukebox seeks to bridge the gap between the traditional approach of staging a well-known musical and a fully progressive one that creates all new original words and music.
In Devised Jukebox, the company and cast create the plot, dialogue, and on-stage action through ex- perimentation and exploration of a predetermined starting point. In this case, it is the students who will create the dialogue and move- ment. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 is the chosen starting point and the subject of the musical. Mr. Sarstedt explains,
“The fall of the Berlin Wall is just the starting point. The work moves on from that using a wall as a the- matic vehicle. We will explore walls within ourselves, between ourselves and others, in politics and between cultures, for example.”
“This is not the easiest way to cre- ate a high school theater piece,“ Mr. Gregg adds.“This will be a learning journey. The students get to grap- ple with ideas, engage with the creative journey and take full own- ership of material rather than just
‘putting on a show.’ Mr. Sarstedt and I are drawing on our 25 years of combined experience and col- laboration as ISTA (International
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