Ghost: You want the dead to come back to the world?
Isabel: I want so much to make them come back. I want to see them take the world by storm, sweep it clean of the cobwebs in which it is entangled, and make a bright new world in terms of the eternal life which is ours. We are afraid to live because we are afraid to die. But the dead have died; they know the magnitude and meaning of life. How easily they could teach us to live not like clods, but like spirits! And really, what could be simpler? There is only the wall of silence between us. And there are loopholes in that wall…
- The Enchanted by Jean Giraudoux, adapted by Maurice Valency
We have passed through the Spring Equinox, and can now be confident that (in the Northern Hemisphere) the light in the world will continue to increase, the Earth will gradually grow warmer, and green things will appear around us from the ground and in the trees. Already, bulbs are starting to come up, and the pussy willows are growing fuzzy buds. In the Christian calendar, we are in the Lenten season before Easter; for Muslims, Ramadan has begun; Pesach, or Passover is approaching in the Jewish religious year; and the Hindu New Year has just begun. A busy season of transitions!
In the life of the school, teachers can already see the end of the year approaching quickly, with all the events and celebrations that will occur between now and then looming large in the calendar. In the high school, we have just moved into our third trimester after having finished main lesson blocks covering Organic Chemistry for the 9th grade, the class play for the 10th grade, Parzival for grade 11, and Economics for the seniors.
[caption id="attachment_8131" align="alignleft" width="300"]
Sophia M. and Oliver T. in the play "The Enchanted."[/caption]
Last week, the 10th grade performed The Enchanted
, a comedy by Jean Giraudoux, adapted from the French by Maurice Valency. This full-length production required a great deal of work in a short period of time, and the students rose to the challenge admirably, learning their lines and blocking, creating the sets, props, costumes, lighting, and makeup. In a way, all of those essential elements of staging a play were not the most important activity they were engaged in, however. The magic of theater happens in real time onstage, under the lights, in front of the audience, but like all good magic it depends on the right sort of preparation. If the director and actors have done their jobs well, both the players and audience are carried along by unseen currents and forces on which the play’s characters, with all their thoughts, feelings, and deeds, are propelled forwards inevitably to the story’s conclusion. While the story remains the same, each time it is told, there are different eddies and ripples in those underlying currents, and the audience affects those currents as the weather affects the flowing of a stream.
The performances came off successfully, and the students and audience members had much to ponder afterwards, as they reflected on the themes so humorously presented, covering everything from the education system; to the relationships of Government, Science, Humanity, and Nature; to the question of whether those who have died could return to or participate in the world of the living to help improve society. Ultimately, in the story of the play, it is not the dead who are reborn, but the main character of Isabel who experiences a death process followed by a rebirth. As a play set in the Spring, it feels like an appropriate theme that aligns well with what we observe around us in nature. May we all find our way to the renewal and rebirth that we need in our lives!
Written by Simon Frishkoff, High School Chairperson