Kolkata: There are shows. And then there are SHOWS.
Well, the presentation of The Next Generation School of Rock: The Musical by La Martiniere Schools, Kolkata on July 11 and 12, 2019 at Kalamnadir definitely made the cut to qualify as one spectacular and stupendous SHOW that mesmerised each and every member of the audience.
The onus to direct this presentation – as adapted from the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Julian Fellowes – was taken by Ms. Susmita Chakrabarthy, teacher of English, Classes XI and XII at La Martiniere for Boys.
The production involved more than 100 students and a large number of teachers from both the boys’ and girls’ schools. Practice sessions started three-and-a-half months ago and the students along with their teachers willingly sacrificed their summer holidays for this production!
This dedication showed on stage, thereby, making the musical an absolute visual treat. Be it acting, dancing, singing; stage management, costumes et al – it scored high on all departments. In fact, there were times when one forgot that this was not a professional Broadway play.
Watch the video of enthralling performance by the students of La Martiniere Schools:
Talking to eNewsroom, Ms. Chakrabarthy said, “Students had to go through several rounds of auditions and after selection, they had to attend the workshops. I asked them to do free-hand exercises and made them watch the timeless performances of Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and other actors of that genre. Since this was a completely in-house production, the students had to learn about the importance of time management and team work. I am so happy with their efforts. They have grown as individuals and the experiences that they have gathered here will help them to fit better in this world.”
What was also interesting about the musical was that it registered active participation from students studying in classes IX, X and XII and this got us thinking: ‘What motivated the parents to encourage their wards to take part in the musical?”; ‘Weren’t they worried about board exams and ‘studies suffering’’?
Ms. Mohua Chatterjee, teacher of core English and Elective English for Class 12 in La Martiniere for Girls whose daughter Hiya, a student of Class XII who enacted the role of Summer Hathaway said, “This is Hiya’s last year in school and I wanted her to gain this experience. Just look at the grooming that she has received! Parents should encourage their children to take part in such activities. Academics should not and cannot be the only thing that you can take away from school.”
Hiya reaffirmed, “My mother encouraged me to go for the auditions. See, ISC is next year and the play has got over and I still have many months left to prepare, but what I have gained from School of Rock is invaluable. In real life, I am very different from Summer. I am shy and this experience has made me more confident and grow as a person. I have become more articulate; learnt how to make new friends and I have also fallen in love with theatre.”
“I encouraged Arshia to take part in order to take her mind off from the pressure of studies. I feel that such activities enable children to unwind and discover their hidden potential,” said Mr. Arup Bagchi, director of The Institute of Cost Accountants of India whose daughter Arshia, is a student of class IX and essayed the character of Madison in the musical.
When Team eNewsroom caught up with Rohil Ghosh a student of Class XII, aka the protagonist – music teacher Dewey Finn, he said, “I love to act and this year is my seventh year of performing in school plays. I guess I am a really lucky to have a mother who simply loves to see me perform on stage. She is my biggest supporter and has always encouraged to follow my heart. I will always cherish this musical, forever.”
“I am in Class XII and this musical was an incredible experience. I learnt about time management and how to strike a balance between studies, practice and other activities. I used to say awake till 2am and finish everything,” stated Ishan Sarkar, aka drummer Freddy Hamilton,
Samara Mehta Vyas aka Tomika Williams, a student of Class VIII admitted, “Initially, I had wondered whether I would be able to fit in and be friends with the seniors. But all my apprehensions were soon put to rest. Look at what we have achieved as a team!”
When we asked the trio – Sourojit Ganguly aka Damien – in Class X and his friends – twins Ayush Bandyopadhyay aka Cole and Ankush Bandyopadhyay aka Dylan – both in Class XI, “What is the most precious gift that the musical has given you?” They replied, “Friendship and bonding,” in unison.