On 10 December the first whole school production premiered at UWC Dilijan: the musical adaptation of The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare featured DP1 and DP2 students presenting the piece by the king of morality drama.
From the darkness of backstage, out steps Leontes, the king of Sicily, to take centre stage. He stops in the spotlight for just a brief moment, enough for us to see the elaborated madness on his face. Torn apart by guilt and remorse, he mourns his unfortunate decisions. Queen Hermione faints in prostration upon hearing the news of her son Mamillus passing away. Charming Perdita and the passionate Florizel utter words of eternal love so deep and forbidden to each other at a village festival. All these emotionally strained scenes evolve during a three-act comedy, which rather resembles a tragedy, with a touch of a musical play. This is the inaugural school production of UWC Dilijan.
TRANSFORMATION THROUGH EDUCATION
The entire school has long-awaited this performance. Since the founding year, the theatre department has been laying the groundwork for something big, something that would be powerful enough to impact people both inside the school and out there, in Dilijan. “As a school with a significantly diverse student and staff body, the arts are our best means of engaging in long-lasting transformative development to increase mutual understanding and acceptance within the UWC ethos of building a world rooted in the principle of ‘peace and a sustainable future’”, says Shirin, the theatre teacher.
On the evening of 10 December the Black Box hosted guests from Dilijan: schools, the Community Centre, cultural organisations, as well as representatives of diplomatic missions to join the students for their first big show. Apart from creating bonds between the local students and the community, the theatre production aimed to bring out the acting skills in students that might have never considered appearing and speaking in public as one of their strengths. The months of rehearsals have paid off: students that found it difficult to say a sentence in English, now fluently recite dozens of lines in Shakespearean English.
WORKING AS A COMMUNITY
This unique musical interpretation of William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale marked the first school production at UWC Dilijan. It tells a story of all-consuming passion and jealousy, love and regret in the kingdoms of Sicily and Bohemia. This is a story of secrets that tear families apart, yet are exposed in the end only to unite everyone in peace and reconciliation. Practically everyone in the community was involved in the production – whether it was through acting, costume design or stage management. All the songs for the performance (both music and lyrics) were written by the English teacher Alec. It is clearer now, to what extent this was a whole school production. All those who participated in the play, hope that this will become an annual tradition. As for the moment, the artistic team is making arrangements for “the Winter’s Tale” to go on tour around Armenia.
Photos by Thawdar, UWCD'17 and Idomu, UWCD'17