Tuesday,  Oct 23, 2018,12:10 (GMT+7) 0 0
HCMC students bring classical dramas onto stage
Minh Tuan
Monday,  Jun 11, 2018,18:26 (GMT+7)

HCMC students bring classical dramas onto stage

Minh Tuan

A scene of My Sister's Keeper where Kate (sitting on wheelchair) says the very last words to her family before her death - PHOTOS: MINH TUAN

Students at the Faculty of Foreign Languages at the HCMC Open University staged My Sister's Keeper, an American novel by Jodi Picoult, at the Drama Theater in downtown HCMC last Saturday.

This is one of four American and British novels brought onto stage under the university’s Theater in Education program, with an aim to encourage the English language-learning community in HCMC to practice English and embrace their love for world-known English and American literary works.

My Sister's Keeper tells the story of 13-year-old Anna Fitzgerald as she sues her parents, Brian and Sara, for medical emancipation after she discovered she was supposed to donate a kidney to her elder sister Kate, who is dying from acute leukemia.

The story focuses on nurturing the love and affection among family members. However, above all, love must be fair in any case and the people, especially children, must have the ultimate right to their own body. Even parents should get their permission for doing anything that may affect their physical condition.

With the help of their teachers as mentors and language editors, the students, even though amateur, acted so naturally and emotionally, bringing the audience a memorable and meaningful night.

“Everything, from lighting and sound system, to stage properties, the organizers, tea break, and especially the students’ acting, are so professional. If they don’t say they are students, I would think they are professional actors,” a spectator named Vo Thanh Tuan told the Daily.

According to Le Quang Truc, the lecturer who initiated Theatre in Education, the program has received great support from heads of the HCMC Open University, the university’s alumni, sponsors, the media, and many volunteers.

Ilse Zoerb, playing judge in My Sister's Keeper, reads the script in the dressing room before the show

One of the most enthusiastic volunteers is Ilse Zoerb, an American teacher at ILA English Center in HCMC, who helped the students with their pronunciation and played the judge in My Sister's Keeper. “The untrained actors are oftentimes just as interesting and watchable as trained actors. The students inspired me and I admired them a lot. They are very brave since it is difficult to stand on stage and share a story, especially taking on the added challenge of acting in a language that was not their mother tongue,” she said.

“The performance is so smooth. I think the students had practiced very hard, with all their love and passion. I’m really impressed by the girl who played the mother as she acted naturally and her intonation was really good,” said Nguyen Ngoc Vinh, an audience, to the Daily after the show.

My Sister's Keeper is the fourth and also the last drama brought onto stage under the Theatre in Education program. The earlier plays include The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde, which opened the program on May 19, Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

The plays not only brought wonderful moments to the audience but also conveyed humanitarian values to the community and provided Vietnamese students majoring in English with opportunities to practice English, learn about English and American literary works, and boost their creativity.

“By joining the program, I can learn a lot about teamwork, especially how to get along well with other people and sacrifice my private affairs for the team. In addition, the program helps me improve my English and acting skill, and boost self-confidence,” said Le Vo Nhat Huy, third-year student at HCMC Open University, who played the Mayor in The Happy Prince.

Speaking to the Daily after The Happy Prince, Dinh Thi Ngoc Lan who played little swallow, said the play encourages her and other people to help each other, and create a better and happier life.

Initiated in 2016 by Le Quang Truc as he wanted to use dramas to teach foreign language and assist his students to delve into English and American literature and culture, Theater in Education has been an attractive and meaningful annual program for the English language-learning and expat communities in HCMC.

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