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4 EF Academy students win honorable mention in theater competition

4 EF Academy IGCSE Theatre students will be awarded an “Honorable Mention” for a play written and developed in their Grade 10 theatre class, taught by Mr. Giovanni Villari. Tina Zhao, Yarina Dai, Annika Hilgert and Amelie Li will receive the award for the play called Stranger’s Sympathy. The play focuses on a single mother of three, and her struggle to keep the family together, and to balance her dignity and pride in not needing charity form others with the needs of her daughters.

Mr. Villari explains the assignment for their IGCSE drama course was to devise a scene based on a stimulus. The four students chose the Maya Angelou poem Me and My Work. As the assignment progressed and Mr. Villari noticed the students working hard to complete the assignment to the best of their abilities, he let them know it was a strong work – one that could be developed further into a short play and perhaps even performed on stage in front of an audience.

Writing a play takes hard work and dedication, traits Mr. Villari found in these students. He noted, “I am extremely proud of Tina, Yarina, Amelie and Annika. They took the work very seriously. The talent and skill the ladies showed in playwriting, directing and acting  was amazing, and I was very happy that it was recognized and appreciated by their audience last June, when they very successfully performed their play in front of a full audience; and by the Stage the Change competition, that awarded them a honorable mention.”

Ms. Zhao describes the play, writing:

“Stranger’s Sympathy is a play about the story of a single-parent family. The mom has to raise three children at different ages. A conflict was created when each child has different needs and they can’t be fulfilled at the same time. The essential problem of “no need for sympathy” was presented by the mother throughout the play, and this led to conflict and going separate paths.”

It was not always easy writing the play, as all four students had different ideas about conflicts that could be incorporated into the story. The students gradually made improvements to their writing as the play was rehearsed last semester. Tina Zhao explains, “We got to know each other well as a team. The most rewarding part of writing the play was the sharing of ideas, helping each other and coming together as a team. We are so excited this play was selected as an Honorable Mention for Stage the Change.”

Stage the Change will be holding its fourth annual conference at Tilles Center for Performing Arts at LIU Post. Students will be challenged to identify problems that personally motivate them and create artworks that spread awareness and begin conversations about change. Founded in 2012, Stage the Change is a one-day annual conference filled with panel discussions, interactive workshops, keynote speakers and student performances which would encourage and enable students to produce theatre. In 2015, Stage the Change expanded its focus to include dance as a vehicle to inspire social change.  As the organization continues to grow, the conference serves to launch new works created by students, which they can showcase in their own communities and, at the same time, inspire change. This conference is motivating students to become artistic global citizens who create the world that they would like to live in.

Please join us in congratulating Tina Zhao and Yarina Dai, as well as Annika Hilgert and Amelie Li.

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