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What Do Shakespeare, Wrestling and the Beatles have in Common?

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Ask any of the 75 students who journeyed to Vancouver on September 7 as part of the annual Bard on the Beach theatre trip and you’ll be sure to get an enthusiastic answer. This enriching excursion is organized by each year Ms. Adrienne Smook for IB Literature 12, Drama 10 and IB Theatre 11/12 students to provide them with the opportunity to see a live performance of a text they may be studying during the year, to be exposed to professional theatre creations and to take workshops in acting technique. This year, students saw three large scale professional productions: Macbeth and As You Like It by William Shakespeare, both presented by Bard on the Beach, and the Arts Club’s production of the acclaimed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Stanley Theatre. Students also participated in a workshop designed to enhance their understanding and appreciation of Shakespearean text as well as a workshop in stage combat and the use of text in performance. As You Like It with it’s colourful setting of 1960s Vancouver and the Okanagan, it’s use of wrestling in the opening scenes, and it’s incorporation of exceptionally well-performed Beatles songs, was a huge hit with most of the students, but for many The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was a close second. Sophie Schueller, a new Grade 11 student from Germany felt she had learned a lot from that production. “In our last drama class we were talking about the Curious Incident and how you could make the audience think that the protagonist lives in another world or sees things differently. We were brainstorming and thinking and now we have seen a lot of ideas and inspiration about how you could do that.” Alex Muller Clemm, who is in Drama 10, made a similar comment, “I really liked the way The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time was staged. There were minimal props and minimal set parts to it. The play made you think about what was going on in how it was presented to you. It really pushed boundaries.” The stage combat workshop on Saturday morning, run by Ryan McNeill Bolton and Sylvie La Riviere, members of the Fight Directors of Canada, was also popular as the students could relate what they were learning with the “fight” scenes they had seen in Macbeth. And some of the braver students even risked using some stage combat when they presented their own interpretations of some scenes from Macbeth in small groups. And many of students admitted that they also really enjoyed the small chunks of free time they were given as it gave them a chance to reconnect with friends, to get to know some of the new students in their classes, and, for students like Danae from Mexico, to see a bit of Vancouver. Thank you to Ms. Smook for organizing this trip, to the chaperones who helped make it possible, and to the students for really embracing all the opportunities it provided.