“I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all I need for an act of theatre to be engaged.”—— Peter Brook
After the end of the speech contest, the second ‘Youxi’ Chinese Theatre Festival opened in the Blue Dragon Theater. In addition to the classic plays such as The Merchant of Venice, Tea House and Hello Rob, the students’ original plays Mulan and Prometheus were also moved onto the drama stage under the cooperation and guidance of Chinese teachers. During the performance, the students’ full mood, fluent lines, tacit teamwork and fascinating plot-lines constantly brought warm applause. Students are not only the protagonists on the stage, but also the protagonists backstage. They wrote their own scripts, chose actors, created lighting and sound effects, prepared props, and created the backgrounds. Through the Theatre Festival, students experienced different roles. They were actors, light technicians, choreographers, directors and screenwriters.
When life and reading experiences are taken as the foundation to think about practice, when drama is used as a medium to express, and when false scenes appear on the stage, drama gives students the opportunity to look at themselves from a different perspective. ‘Youxi’ Theatre Festival enables students to experience and feel the charm of dramatic art in creation and performance. At the same time, it also gains personal growth beyond art and literature learning in competition and cooperation with others.
MYP3 student, Agnes Chen (director) and Ryan Li (screenwriter) of Mulan revealed their feelings after the Theatre Festival:
“It was our pleasure to become the representative of M3, participating in ‘Youxi’ Chinese New Year Festival, winning first place! We’d like to thank the school and teachers for giving us this opportunity, and thank all the teachers and students who have paid their effort for this drama.
The author and the director made a fantastic effort in this drama creation, because our script creation is totally original. During the writing process, we encountered many difficulties. For example, we had no inspiration early on, and the connection and logic had problems between each act of the play. If the logic wasn’t clear, the audience would be unable to understand the meaning of the drama. It took us two weeks to modify the script before the final script was adopted. We modified the script by asking students, teachers and parents’ suggestions, finally producing this interesting and meaningful drama performance.
As a director, our ultimate goal was to get the first place, so as early as one month before the performance, I asked actors to memorize their lines and understand the personality and tone of the characters themselves. Due to every member’s efforts, there was the first result, such as Selina who acted the part of Mulan. She not only had the experience of acting, perfected the interpretation of the role of Mulan, but also helped other actors to analyze the personality of each character, and helped guide with their acting skills.
In addition to actors, directors, writers, another factor to help the success of the play was the backstage personnel who sacrificed their time and holidays to help us choose music, background and lighting. They rehearsed with us over and over again, which finally presented the perfect combination of final lighting, music and background. Most importantly, we also want to appreciate our Chinese teachers who helped us win first place. They’ve been giving us suggestions during our practices, helping us select the appropriate clothing, and sacrificing sleep time at night to help us deal with problems.
This performance is of great significance to all of us because we have made great efforts. Through this stage, we have learned that everything should be done as ideally as possible, and we have learned to cooperate with the team and help others. After this show, we are looking forward to the coming of next year’ s drama festival, also hope we can show more perfect, tacit stage.”
MYP5 Crystal Wang, director of Tea House, restores the process of a play from script selection to stage:
“First of all, when we first learned about the drama festival, we were very excited. But there was question in front of us, which play were we going to play? Finally, after considering several dramas, we chose Mr. Lao She’s Tea House.
After deciding on the script, next everyone decided on the characters. The characters in the Tea House are all different, each character has a different story, and the story is really wonderful and unique from the other stories. After the roles were cast, everyone read the script for the first time. The script of Tea House shows us a miniature society, and in the Tea House, the fate of the individual reflects the fate of the nation.
The script has many Beijing tones: “What are you afraid of? Your little finger is thicker than my waist!” Such words reflected the social life at that time and strengthened the character image. To this end, people watch some Beijing dialect video, sometimes mouth also chanting.
After two weeks of rehearsals, I began to purchase props, tables and chairs that were in line with the times as much as possible. We discussed some details together to get the results. Since we had to perform in the Blue Dragon Theater on campus, we all rehearsed in the theater. Sometimes we would be in a hurry to put up the props, making a lot of interesting things. The rehearsals were incredibly hard, and I discovered that directing is not easy either. The director needs to coordinate everyone’s opinions and make decisions on some things on the spur of the moment. As a novice director, my teachers, classmates and parents helped me a lot to direct the drama better. As the day of the final performance approached, everyone was nervous. After confirming the problem of prop lighting, everyone waited under the stage. The show was a great success, at least in my opinion, and we won silver, narrowly missing out on first prize. But it didn’t detract from our high spirits, because it proved that we all did something about it. At the curtain call, we all stood under the spotlight and the audience clapped with the music in the background. At that moment, I knew we had succeeded, not just as a prize, but as something we had left in the hearts of the audience.”
From preparation to presentation of the Chinese New Year celebrations in the secondary school always follow the target of student-centered and student-led learning. As the supporters, Chinese teachers encourage and mobilize every student to participate in the creation, speech and performance of Chinese.
Organizers-Secondary Chinese department:
Eunice Hou (Secondary Chinese Lead Teacher, MYP&DP Chinese Language & Literature Teacher, DP TOK teacher)
Emma Yang (Secondary assistant coordinator, Language acquisition lead teacher, MYP&DP Chinese acquisition teacher)
Sophia Suo (Secondary Language and literature lead teacher, MYP&DP Chinese Language & Literature Teacher,MYP&DP Chinese acquisition teacher)
Carrie Quan (MYP Chinese Language & Literature Teacher, MYP&DP Chinese acquisition teacher)
Matthew Lu (MYP Chinese Language & Literature Teacher, MYP Chinese acquisition teacher)
Jasmin Sun (MYP&DP Chinese acquisition teacher)