CN USFallProduction2017 300pxWry comedy, sophisticated wordplay, and deeply reflective adult characters were brought to life by ten Nueva upper school students in their run of Two by Tom Stoppard on November 3–6 in the Hillsborough GCC.

The performances, consisting of two one-act plays, "Albert's Bridge" and "A Separate Peace," are very early works by one of England's greatest living playwrights. The evening demonstrated Nueva students’ ability to tackle challenging, adult material, as each play concerns a central character struggling to find a place in society.

“These plays are straight realism, both unfamiliar and challenging to the students, and requiring honesty and trust from them,” said Director David Keith, Nueva faculty member and accomplished actor and director in his own right. “Our students experience their own family and friends as deeply connected in their lives, so portraying characters who are completely cut off required a lot of imagination. Initially this was difficult, but it was wonderful to see them step forward and bring the characters to life,” said David.

These students, all of whom are taking David’s Fall Production elective, are at varied levels of theater experience and were able to step into important roles. “This was the most intellectual and character-driven material we’ve done, and definitely the most challenging role I’ve ever played,” shared Justin S., Nueva senior.

Freshman Gavi G., who threw herself into playing Albert’s painfully detached mother in "Albert's Bridge" and a nurse in "A Separate Peace," explained how even younger, less-experienced students were immediately part of the group. She explained, “We’ve studied the backstory for these adult characters, learned from David how to develop them in our acting, and how every line of dialogue and movement of the choreography matters. It’s been an intense experience and now every cast member feels like part of a family.”

David, an actor for 40 years and director of teens for 20, has been teaching performing arts electives at Nueva’s Upper School since it opened at the College of San Mateo in September of 2013. He has appeared at many theaters throughout the Bay Area, including the Magic Theatre, A.C.T., and TheatreWorks, and has film credits including Raising Arizona and Fargo. His Nueva elective offerings have included Beginning Acting, Directing, and Study of Physical Character.

This experience — studying challenging material, being vulnerable, and taking risks on stage — makes visible Nueva’s pedagogy of student-centeredness and the school's motto, Learn by Doing. Justin reflected, “For me, Nueva is all about the students who are involved in each thing — they get involved because they love that thing. The students in the Fall Production have been legitimately and passionately invested. It is so important in everything that we do, and especially important in theater.”

 


 November 15, 2017

 

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HILLSBOROUGH
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Hillsborough, CA 94010

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