I was excited to receive this email about a production of Pressure at the International School of Bremen. It was so interesting to read about students putting together a piece of theatre, even though they don’t naturally speak English, even though they don’t have a space. Pressure is one of my oldest plays and to read how these students connected to the work and the plight of the characters made my day. It just shows how, even though this particular theatre piece was written for a pretty specific North American audience and the problems of the characters are what I would think of as North American, that’s not necessarily the case. Theatre is universal….
Let me first of all say ‘thank you’ for writing such wonderful plays for young people. Students at the International School of Bremen can certainly relate to feeling the need to work extra hard at school, coming from families that move almost without a moment’s notice from one country to another, having to learn English and function in an academic environment that has nothing to do with their home country, and certainly knowing that one is expected to walk in the family business footsteps.
When we put on a play here – even though I am an American with English as the first language – the better part of my cast and audience do not have English as a first language.
We don’t rehearse for very long – usually 3 days – and then we try to mount a production in our dining hall or a large space offered by one of our parents; i.e., in short, we don’t have a theater in our school. Next year we will have a new building but it will take a while before we have any technical equipment. In the meantime I met the performance manager of a nearby university which is also trying to build up an arts program and we coordinated in order to put PRESSURE on at Jacobs University in their Black Box Theater. It was an absolute success which left both the cast and audience thoughtful as to how everyone functions under some kind of stress and how we need to take care and be aware of cracks in the facade.
Thanks to Liz and the students at the International School of Breman for allowing us to share their story!