On March 31st and April 1st, the Performing Arts Department presented Voices from the High School … And Stuff, which included scenes and monologues by playwright Peter Dee, as well as original scenes, monologues and songs that were devised and written by ACS students. As the title indicates, the play presented windows into the lives of teenagers, from first crushes to standing up against a bully, from celebrating friendship to budding political activism. High School Drama teacher Dyane Stillman, who directed the play, said she chose it because the structure allowed students with varied levels of experience to create a balanced production while exploring, experimenting and growing as young artists. Additionally, the non-linear plot and didactic style made the play an excellent vehicle in which to introduce theatre students to Berthold Brecht’s conventions of Epic Theatre.
The Stage Managers for the production were 11th grader Fatima Makki, and 10th grader Jana Bakkar. When asked to describe the experience of being part of the play, Fatima said, “Everyone showed understanding and a lot of love for the storyline, and overall, I think that this play shows the ins and outs of high school more than any other.” Jana explained that one of the main messages of the play was, “Everyone is gonna inevitably go through their own stuff. You just have to find people that are willing to stick with you through it.”
Zuheir Bdeir, an 11th grader, wrote two of the original scenes, and Nour Makarem, a 9th grader, wrote another. All of the members of the cast contributed ideas, stories and editorial skills during the process of devising additional scenes.
Leen Harazallah, Tala Yamout, and Dana Zahreddine, were directed in by Jim McLean, the Head of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, in the 12th grade play-within-the-play, Eating Out, by Marcia Dixcy, which they will use as the basis for their IB solo projects.
Mr. McLean also choreographed the dance finale.
The music in the show included two original songs sung by 11th grader Riwa Saab: a solo performance of “Sixteen,” and a duet with her classmate, Lynn El Hadj Ali, on the song “Hey.” Alma Saddi, an 11th grader, acted, sang, and accompanied her cast-mates on guitar and piano, including “Imagine,” by John Lennon and her classmate Dana Bekdash’s solo on “Bird Set Free,” by Sia. Alma and Lynn collaborated with 10th grader Taymour Nakib, who wrote and performed his own raps, on original arrangements of “Lost Boy,” by Ruth B., and “Imagine,” by John Lennon. Sunny Shehab, an 11th grader, provided the pre-show music, played piano for “Hey,” and played flute for “Lost Boy” and “Bird Set Free.”
Ryan Dalloul and Jana Abu Ayash designed and painted the set pieces.
Alma Saddi accompanied 9th graders Zeina El Zomor and Nour Makarem, who performed the pre-show music for the invited dress rehearsal.
Nadine Mobayed’s Graphic Design Classes created the show poster. Nadine Tabbara’s Fine Arts Classes created sculptures from recycled materials for the finale scenery. Laura Loran helped out as the Sound and Lighting Supervisor. Phil Wendel photographed the cast for the front-of-the-house display. The cast and crew were grateful for their help, as well as the support of the entire ACS community, particularly the Physical Plant Staff.
Submitted by HS Drama Teacher Dyane Stillman