For this year’s VCE Theatre Studies Production, over two nights, the students put on a show of two plays by actor and writer Steve Martin. The audiences were wowed by the standard of the performance and hilarious delivery of Martin’s witty humour – the Phoenix Theatre was almost constantly filled with laughter. A group of Year 9 students also stepped up to help out the VCE class, as part of the backstage crew and stage management.
As explained by Year 9 student Timna Shushan, “This year’s VCE Theatre Studies Production was comprised of two plays - WASP, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Written by Steve Martin, these shows intend to make you laugh and have a good time.
“WASP, set in the southern United States in the 1950s, is a rollercoaster of adventures and represents the culture of the American South at the time.
“Picasso at the Lapin Agile is set in a bar in Paris – the Lapin Agile. It tells the tale of Picasso, Einstein, and some other interesting, weird, and wacky characters. The play sets you up for a night of philosophical discussions, as well as some comedic genius. It is rumoured that Picasso and Einstein actually met each other at this bar in the early 1900s.”
Year 9 student Cole Huynh says he “enjoyed working with everyone, making Gordon smile (which is rare) and overall just having fun while building/moving the scenes. “It was very challenging to work fast during the blackouts, especially with the riser, which is the big ol' metal table kind of thing. I learned a lot about the process and effort Elwood applies in these school productions – these shows are more than just a school play. We aim to make it better than that and raise the bar I really love the environment, everyone is friendly and jokes are constantly going around. I'm able to get closer to the theatre kids and build lasting relationships. I will definitely take Theatre Studies as a VCE student if I am able to.”
Timna echoed these sentiments.“The whole experience was amazing. As a Year 9, watching a production unfold and develop that was fully created by students, not all that much older than me, made me realise that some truly great things can be done in your final years at school, even with all the stress of VCE. I enjoyed working with the VCE students to bring their production to life. I have learnt a lot. My first experience stage managing was really positive. I learnt everything that goes into the role, from cueing the backstage crew and lighting/sound operators, to getting all the actors together and telling everyone where they need to be, as well as what needs to be done. I definitely hope to improve these skills in the future, using the Theatre Studies production as a base for my knowledge. It was an honour to be able to work on such a large project in Year 9. I definitely hope to take Theatre Studies as a VCE student!”
Year 12 student actress Peggy Lucas says that “all of the cast and crew were super fun to work with and it was exciting seeing the play all come together. I also enjoyed working on all the costumes and having free reign to creatively interpret the script. The most challenging part was definitely learning all my lines. I played Einstein and so much of what he said was littered with scientific jargon and bamboozling theories which, because I had no clue what he was going on about, was quite difficult to remember. Of all my classes in Year 12, Theatre Studies is just much more rewarding. Doing this subject you are given lots of freedom for creativity and, in this particular SAC, it feels less restrictive or full of guidelines compared to, say, a written essay. This SAC is an actual memory and something I am extremely proud to have been a part of. How much effort you put into your production roles reflects on stage and actually impacts the audience and the wider community."
When asked whether she would recommend the subject to younger students, Peggy said that “usually when people think of Theatre Studies, they think of how daunting being on stage or acting is, however, people should know it is more than just that. Of course, acting is a big part of theatre, but design roles such as set, costume, sound and lighting are equally as important and enjoyable. “I would recommend this subject to anyone who is creative and can bring cool ideas in regards to design, people who are good at working as a team and those who enjoy performance.”
Well done to all the students who produced such a fantastic show this year.