In commemoration of their 40th anniversary, the theatre arts students of the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School (CCSS) will portray their talents in a production called “School Vibes”. These vibrant, energetic and zealous students have definitely embraced theatre arts as a subject and as a part of their everyday lives, and will use this medium to bring out the issues that they are faced with as young people.
At the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, theatre arts is broken down into two categories–drama and dance. With these two art forms, the students are able to get a better appreciation of dance and drama, helping them to develop their talents, and reveal their true inner selves. At the school, theatre arts is taught by two teachers; Mrs. Christine Samuel teaches dance and Ms. Ruzanne Gustave teaches drama. I had a chat with Ms. Gustave on the “School Vibes” production and her perception of her students.
“‘School Vibes’ is a production by the students. It is for the students, about the students, their situations, their experiences as students, theatre students and as teenagers. So it summarizes their experiences in a regular school. ‘School Vibes’ is drama, it has dance, it has spoken word, song and basically a school theatrical production,” she said.
“It is basically a show, an hour and a half theatrical production. It has been the Form 3 and 4 students’ theatrical and practical work for the term. It involves the marketing of the show, in fundraising, along with working as the cast for the different sections that we do. The dances, the dramas, the poetry sessions, they have been a part of everything,” explained Gustave.
I got a first hand experience of how talented and lively these girls are, as I got a preview of the production when they permitted me sit in on their rehearsals.
“The students are very energetic, creative, but they need a bit of focus and guidance and I think that it is because of their energy and their liking for what they do; and having the talent that we’ve been able to actually put on this production with them. The concept has been inspired by them. From the theme song, to the pieces that we’re doing, a lot of it comes from the students giving their own input. And we have been able to mould and shape (their ideas) into this production,” Gustave confessed.
I spoke to some of the girls to get their perception of the art forms.
Kezia Edward: “I love theatre arts. Basically, I want to show people what I can do. Because people see me and think, “that girl can’t do anything,” so I use theatre arts as my means of proving them wrong.”
Ernel Aimable: “Theatre arts is basically our daily life, everything that we do. I really love to dance. Theatre arts is about dancing, acting, performing on stage, and being yourself, and that’s why I believe I am in tune with it.”
Marva Fortune: “I love theatre arts because I believe that it helps me express myself much more. It gives me the opportunity to dance and sometimes act, and I think that it is a subject that enables me to better express myself in public, and show what I can do.”
Chelsea Prince: “I grew up always listening to music and dancing, so it was easy for me to fall in love with theatre arts. So it helps me to express who I am as a person. It also helps me build my self confidence and also allows me to perform with my friends who encourage me and that helps.”
Jelissa Alexander: “I love theatre arts because it helps to show what I am about, and it helps me to express and bring out who I am.”
In concluding, Ms. Gustave stated why persons should come to view and support the “School Vibes” and the students.
“‘School Vibes’ is a true expression of the teenage experience today. Looking at the issues that they deal with from the positive to the negative, it is a true representation of them. So parents can have a better understanding of what their children go through and because it is a student situation, it is student-centered, adults can remember and reflect on their experiences at school as well. Everyone will be able to relate to it because we all have been students and it is energizing and entertaining but also uncovers some serious issues.”