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 Theater students stand in line to create an imaginary wall, facing opposite directions
to represent East- and West- Germany
School Theatre Association) Artists. The mission of ISTA is to bring to- gether young people, artists and teachers from different countries in different settings to experience, create and learn about theater. We passionately value diversity, collaboration, celebration, play, friend- ship and collegiality.”
In typical jukebox musical style, the directors have decided to choose only popular songs that were released or which charted in the year 1989. “Not only does this purposely limited choice of music foster cre- ativity, but it ensures that the audience will recognize it, triggering
both nostalgia and anticipation during the performance and under- pinning the emotional content,” says Mr. Sarstedt. One very familiar example of a jukebox musical is Mamma Mia!, which only uses music by the group ABBA.
All FIS Grade 10 students visited Berlin during trip week this year, giv- ing some of the students who are involved in the production excel- lent opportunities to do primary research that feeds into the work. Meanwhile, other students are researching first-hand accounts of life on both sides of the wall. The subject matter, the intensity of the event, and the physical framework of the tearing down of a wall are all very exciting material for the students to explore through theater. Grade
12 cast member and IB Theater student, Dana, says she is thrilled to be able to exercise what she learns in class during these rehearsals. “We are a diverse ensemble with many different perspectives. I'm learning so much about theater and collaboration, it's incredible!”
There is no script to learn and no set plot to from which to work. There is only the starting point and the music. The students will be collabo- rating to create many impactful scenes over the 10-week rehearsal pe- riod and, in the end, will select the best and most cohesive to form the 50-70 minute performance. Dana has mixed emotions about leaving some of the scenes on the “cutting room floor.”“It is incredibly difficult to choose what to keep and what to leave behind,” she says. Grade 9 cast member, Enya, acknowledges the challenge of dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing what the piece will end up being until just before the performance. “Although that is a bit intimidating, it’s also what makes it fun.”
What will end up on stage in November will have us all on the edge of our seats, but one thing that is certain is the dedication and respect this group has for one another. Enya has confidence in the outcome and says, “Seeing so many people dedicated to a piece of theater gives me very high hopes for the performance.”
The production will be performed on 18 and 19 November in the FIS Auditorium, marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Rita Merrick
FIS Parent and Assistant to the Performing Arts
October 2019 FIS World 19

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