Over the course of just three and a half weeks, students who attended the first session of the 2017 TASIS Summer Programs in Switzerland successfully pulled off a number of live performances and explored a wide variety of artistic disciplines, including musical theater, singing, percussion, ukulele, guitar, dancing, and comedy writing on the performing arts side and landscape painting, studio art, digital photography, and architecture and design on the visual arts side. The culminating Summer Arts Festival on July 17–19 provided a platform to share the tremendous work students created under the tutelage of their talented visual arts teachers and the incomparable Dedicated Performing Arts Team (DPAT).
Matthew Frazier-Smith, Summer Programs Director for the Performing Arts, noted that many of the students performing on stage during the festival were doing so for the very first time, and he applauded the courage exhibited by these young artists. “From Minnows to TSP, our students are truly inspiring—not only as pupils and young learners, but as enthusiastic and inventive collaborators in the artistic process,” he said. “The Summer Arts Festival is a testament to the remarkable creative energy put forth by these exceptional students, and we could not be more proud of their accomplishments.”
Below is a recap of the Summer Arts Festival complete with photos and video footage from the performances.
TASIS Summer Program (TSP) Performances
TSP Musical: Windcatcher
TSP students performed the original musical Windcatcher in the Palmer Center on the evening of July 18. Michael Rosenbaum directed Windcatcher, Kyle Adkins and Rosenbaum wrote the libretto, and TJ Liquori, Adkins, and Rosenbaum wrote the music, lyrics, and story.
Music Director/Accompanist: TJ Liquori
Choreographer: Jordine Cornish
Acting Coaches: Kyle Adkins, Stephanie Figer
Sets: Marco Gabaglio
Costumes: Jordine Cornish
Lighting Design: Ben Gordon
Synopsis: The State is divided. The Crats make the rules from their high hill and the Workers struggle to breathe through the toxic fumes down below. To keep the State safe, the Workers have been digging a giant ditch around their territory but are on the brink of another rebellion. In this world without birds, two girls from different backgrounds discover a machine—and a connection—that could change everything...
Director’s Note: Bringing the Musical Theatre Course back has been a joyous occasion indeed! Along with the Musical Activity, these students have surpassed our expectations of what can be accomplished in the world of theater in such a short amount of time. The ability to craft a transformative course such as this around an original musical is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for both the students and our staff. Countless hours went into dreaming this production to life. The staff and I encouraged the students to collaborate with us in the creation of this musical, from set design to costumes, from choreography to staging. They have truly made it their own. This show is about many different things, not least of which is hope, truth, and the pursuit of our outlandish dreams. I hope you leave feeling as inspired as I do by the work these students have put into the world premiere of Windcatcher. I hope you fly…
The premiere of Windcatcher was live-streamed and can be viewed in its entirety in the clip below. A gallery of photos can be found here.
TSP Drama Performances
Students from TSP language classes performed four original dramatic productions in the Palmer Center on the afternoon of July 18.
Italian Drama presented (Almost) The Last Supper: Il quasi-Cenacolo, which was directed by Stephanie Figer and Gabriele Sforza and written by Figer, Sforza, and the students of TSP Italian/Academic Writing Drama.
Synopsis: Ethan and his roommate, Joseph, are anxiously preparing what they hope will be the meal of a lifetime. Their dinner guests include Giulia, Ethan’s new girlfriend, and her family. Giulia’s family doesn’t speak any English—but not to worry. Brutus, an old friend, has offered to step in and make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible...
Director’s Note: From the very first day of class, these students had a wonderful rapport when working together. The task of tying together a play that utilizes two languages isn’t easy—but they crafted a fun, heartfelt, and intensely silly story. We hope you enjoy it!
French Drama presented La Chèvre et Nos Notes, which was directed by Kyle Adkins and Jami Reimer and written by Adkins, Reimer, and the students of TSP French Drama.
Synopsis: A group of high school students are unhappy with their final grades and conspire to break into the school to change their report cards. The only thing getting in their way is an ancient, magical goat and his master, the school Custodian.
Director’s Note: The TSP French Drama students brought a wonderful energy to every class. Though they all came in with different levels of proficiency in the language, their teamwork and playful attitudes created an atmosphere of improvement for all. La Chèvre et Nos Notes is the culmination of their work in drama and in the French language.
English Drama 5-7 presented The Titans vs. The Sharks, which was directed by Daniel Lohmann and Alec Warn and written by Lohmann, Warn, and the students of TSP English Drama 5-7.
Synopsis: The Titans are a high school sports team in need of a victory. When they find themselves face-to-face with the intimidating Sharks, both the Titans and their desperate coach must decide how far they’re willing to go to succeed.
Director’s Note: Our quartet of actors had no shortage of ideas when presented with the task of creating a short theatrical piece. Having contributed their humor, acting experience, and energy, they now present to you a piece that is very much their own.
English Drama 2-4 presented Mission: Potania, which was directed by Kyle Adkins and written by Adkins, Figer, and the students of TSP English Drama 2-4.
Synopsis: In the tiny island nation of Potania, the newly elected President Mokoe has his work cut out for him. The corrupt Prime Minister Kotia is taking bribes from the poor fishermen and women of the island to fund his extravagant lifestyle and his obsession with Tom Cruise action movies. When an honest fisherman named Tooki comes to President Mokoe for help, he must do what’s right for the people of Potania by enlisting the help of a selfless police officer named Timkit.
Director’s Note: Creating a short piece of theater for only two actors presented a unique challenge. Through the creativity and enthusiasm of Riccardo and Assad, that challenge became a source of great joy. They came loaded with ideas and energy and were dedicated to making an outstanding piece of theater. I am beyond thrilled to present their work, Mission: Potania.
All four performances were live-streamed and can be viewed in the clip below. Photos can be found here.
TSP Talent Show
TSP students also had the opportunity to share their talents in the Palestra on the evening of July 17. Highlights from the show can be viewed in the following clip.
Middle School Program (MSP) Performances
MSP Musical: Same Sky
MSP students performed the original musical Same Sky in the Palmer Center on the evening of July 19. Same Sky was written and directed by Stephanie Figer. The music was written by TJ Liquori and Michael Rosenbaum, and the lyrics were written by Figer and students in the MSP Musical Theater course.
Music Director/Accompanist: Patrick Gardner
Choreographer: Sandra Preciado
Sets: Marco Gabaglio
Costumes: Julie Edwards Frazier-Smith
Lighting Design: Ben Gordon
Synopsis: We open with a familiar scene: a young lady behind the wheel of her vehicle with Mom and Dad anxiously watching and correcting her driving. This young lady, however, happens to be what we would call an alien. The youngest Junior Pilot in the history of her people, the girl dips and dives through outer space, enjoying her first taste of freedom. She is overcome with the breathtaking beauty of a planet called “Earth,” and she asks her parents for permission to visit. They tell her it is too dangerous—human beings are mistrustful by nature, and they fear what they don’t know. A mechanical malfunction finds her plummeting to the planet’s surface anyway, where she is discovered by a girl her age. Though they don’t speak the same language, they instantly connect and strike up a friendship. Not everyone in the town is as kind. Fear spreads as people wonder why the being is here, what it wants, and how they can exploit her presence for their own personal gain. Same Sky examines why we fear those who are different from us, the wisdom of children in their ability to bridge cultural divides, and what it means to be fully human.
Director’s Note: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Exactly what is it that makes us human? These are some of the questions that come to us as we stare at the night sky. In the past few weeks, the MSP Musical Theatre Course students have raised many more: Why do we fear those who are different from us? Why are we so afraid of being labeled as “different” ourselves? Must our differences always be dividing lines, or could they make us stronger? TASIS is a cultural haven where students and teachers from all over the world join together as collaborators. On day one we unpack our suitcases, and soon after we’re unpacking our life experiences and cultural heritages alongside each other. In a time where so much of the world is struggling with intolerance, cruelty, and widespread fear, it is important to remember that any one of us could be labeled an outcast for things that are beyond our control. As you will see in the show’s finale number, the students have done a beautiful job in expressing a fundamental truth that is best seen through they eyes of children—borders on land are a manmade construct. In the end, we all sleep under the same sky.
Same Sky was live-streamed and can be viewed in its entirety in the clip below, and a photo gallery can be viewed here.
MSP Final Night
MSP capped off the first session with a number of performances in the Palestra on the evening of July 19. Students sang songs in multiple languages, showed off their instrumental talents, and performed several choreographed dance routines.
The full performance was live-streamed and can be viewed in the clip below. A gallery of photos can be found here.
Le Château des Enfants (CDE) Performances
CDE Musical: Peace Island
CDE students performed the original musical Peace Island in the Palmer Center on the afternoon of July 19. Andrew Leonard directed the show and wrote the book, music, and lyrics. Chris Rayis did the arrangements and orchestration.
Music Director/Accompanist: Chris Rayis
Choreographer: Julie Edwards Frazier-Smith
Sets: Marco Gabaglio
Costumes: Andrew Leonard, Julie Edwards Frazier-Smith
Lighting Design: Ben Gordon
CDE Stage Assistants: Courtney Belin, Tomson Carroll
Synopsis: Imagine a Nation where people are divided into separate zones and each zone is defined by specific talents. Then the evil ruler of this nation decides that there is room for only one talent left in the world and holds a nationwide Talent Competition. Groups from each zone volunteer and fight for their zones. However, as each zone gets eliminated, the contestants begin to disappear. Where do they go? They get sent to a deserted Island with no resources. What happens to these people with different talents, cultures, and skills? Do they work together and use their diversity for the better? Or do they stay divided, competing against one another without realizing the potential we all have to truly be one world?
Director’s Note: As I reflected on the state of the world this past year, I became aware of more and more atrocities that continued to divide the world into opposing directions. I feel that here at TASIS, there is an opportunity to provide the students with an experience where the exact opposite is the case. I get the chance to direct a musical with children from 17 different nationalities—that’s amazing! I wanted to write something that focused on celebrating this diversity—on realizing that our differences are what make this world beautiful. Our differences don’t have to divide us—in fact, they are what make us whole. Our differences are what make us one.
Peace Island was live-streamed and can be viewed in full in the clip below. A gallery of photos can be found here.
CDE Final Night
CDE celebrated the conclusion of session one with a variety of performances in the Palestra on the evening of July 19. Students sang medleys, performed children’s songs in multiple languages, played the drums and ukuleles, and showcased their dancing skills.
The entire performance was live-streamed and can be viewed in the clip below. Photos can be found here.
Visual Arts Exhibition
In addition to all the performances, the Summer Arts Festival also provided an opportunity to showcase the creative art and design exhibits produced by CDE, MSP, and TSP students. Visual Arts offerings during the first session included Art (CDE), Art Enrichment (MSP), Digital Photography (MSP and TSP), Studio Art (TSP), Landscape Painting (TSP), Architecture and Design (TSP), and Studio Project Art (TSP).
A gallery of photos from the Visual Arts Exhibition can be found here.
A Look Back at Session One’s Cultural Events
The Dedicated Performing Arts Team also offered students an engaging Cultural Event each Monday night of the first session. These performances were captured on film and can be viewed below.
Staff Talent Show
Counselors, teachers, and staff from the Summer Programs performed for students in the Palestra on the evening of June 26.
The amazing Quartetto Archimia presented their unique blend of rock, pop, jazz, and funk in the Palestra on the evening of July 3.
DPAT treated students and counselors from CDE, MSP, and TSP to a Musical Revue: "DPAT Goes Around the World."
Many more excellent photographs from session one of the TASIS Summer Programs can be found on the TASIS SmugMug page.