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Students at ISL take a gamble on love
Culture & Life

Students at ISL take a gamble on love

2 min. 06.02.2013 From our online archive
Illegal gamblers, moonshine distillers and gangs take hold of the International School of Luxembourg for two days when students perform Guys and Dolls on February 6 and 7.

Illegal gamblers, moonshine distillers and gangs take hold of the International School of Luxembourg for two days when students perform Guys and Dolls on February 6 and 7.

Altogether 42 students from grades 6 and 7 are to put on the popular prohibition era romance set in New York.

The play follows the fortunes of a group of illegal gamblers, where the girlfriend of one is desperate to marry her “guy” and escape the sleazy underworld. At the same time there is the story of a mission band struggling to make it on Broadway. The two groups cross paths when the gamblers attempt to turn the mission hall into a gambling den.

“It all ends well. We're doing the junior version,” explained upper school drama teacher Ane Erezue, who is among the team helping to make the play happen.

She has been working with upper school music teacher and director James Libbey and parent volunteer Robert Prendergast to offer the play as an elective class for the first time in the school's history. “It's a bit different to shows in the past, which have been extra curricular,” said James, adding: “This time we're giving them full ownership. They can have input and if they have ideas we will use them.”

Despite the fact that the school has dedicated 100 minutes of lesson time per week to the project since September last year, it has not been without its challenges. For one, trying to capture the accent of gangland New York has proved tough to those who may have never heard this accent before.

“For almost all of them English isn't their native tongue. We kind of forget that. But, I think they understand the story,” said James.

Robert has been giving advice on getting the accent right. But, even he admits that it is not the main priority and understanding the dialogue presents enough challenges.

“I think it's more important to get the character right. If they get that right then everything else follows and they begin to get the accent,” he said, adding: “There are some places in the dialogue where the structure and words are completely different to modern English. They (the students) really stumbled there on some of the grammar.”

While part of the goal of the performance is to provide an entertaining show for friends and family, it is also being used to teach the youngsters to work as a team and commit.

“It's about learning to be engaged in something, to commit for a longer period of time,” explained Ane.

James added: “Often young people only understand immediate gratification and that's why they have trouble understanding the process. If they transfer this experience to another part of their lives they've learned something.”

Guys and Dolls is performed at the International School of Luxembourg on February 6 and 7 from 7pm. Tickets cost 5 euros for adults, 3 euros for students. Tickets are available on the door.