ISH Performing Arts excel in Rent, the Musical
This year school musical production, Rent (the School Musical), was another huge success for the ISH Performing and Visual Art department and carried on school’s grand musical theatre tradition. Rent is a multiple award winning musical loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's La bohème. It all started months ago with Ms. Perone Wendrich who worked tirelessly to turn the stage in the Aula into an abandoned apartment in New York’s East Village while the students from Grade 6 to 12 learnt their scripts, songs and roles in regular rehearsals led by the production director Mr. Chris Graham and Mr. Trevor Ferdy.
The story, set around the Christmas of 1989, is about a group of young artistic outcasts who are about to lose their home. Most of them are living under the shadow of the newly discovered AIDS disease, which at the time was a certain death sentence. This however, is a key part of the artists making the most of their lives, their hearts’ desires and their art. The artists struggle with poverty, confidence and the importance of remaining true to one’s art. The genders and sexual identities of the characters (some in grey areas), substance abuse and addictions are some of the topics tackled.
Apart from a handful of students who’re seasoned in past musical roles here at ISH, Rent (School Edition) introduced to the community most performers. Tommy, Grade 12, Pernille and Zeke both in Grade 11, Jemma in Grade 10 and many of the chorus and supporting roles were new to musicals but all performed superbly. Tommy in his role as Mark, the independent filmmaker was literally a natural. Some had never sang or danced on stage before but Ms. Menon brought out their hidden talents. They probably even surprised themselves.
A show however, is only successful with a lot of coordination and pulling together of talented and committed people behind the scenes. Our students fully took on the tasks of backstage management, props and set building, costumes and makeup as well as sound, lighting and digital effects with guidance from Mr. Rui da Cunha, Ms. Başak da Cunha, Ms. Njoki Gülzow and the amazing band of Mr. Fadi Gaziri, Mr. Sebastian Nagel, Mr. Martin Främke (who also worked on the official musical poster and programme) and Mr. Micha Meinhart. A big thanks goes to them all.
Special thanks go to ISH Facility team, Tanzania Project for food and drinks Grade 7 Design students and their teachers who worked on the musical posters and the secondary school Gay-Straight-Alliance club (GSA) for their help in promoting the discussion of the important themes presented in the musical and raising money towards AIDS. More importantly, the support of the community can not be understated. Thank you, ISH Community!
Here's a slideshow for the musical.