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Plays Chosen for Teen Company Summer Reading Series

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On Thursday, June 26, some participants in the NBYT Teen Company met to talk about show ideas for the 2013-14 season. The first step was to talk about considerations that go into choosing a show, and then the group picked some shows to read together over the next month. Many of the teens’ suggestions were musicals, but they were also most familiar with those musicals. For that reason, the group will read three plays and then spend one week talking about musicals.

Here is the reading planned for each week:.

July 11: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw

Pygmalion is a 1912 play by George Bernard Shaw that is titled after a Greek mythological character. (In the myth, Pygmalion was a sculptor who fell in love with one of his sculptures that came to life.) Phonetics professor Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador’s garden party by teaching her proper English speech. The play lampoons the British class system of the day and is a commentary on women’s independence. Shaw’s play has been adapted many times, most notably as the musical My Fair Lady.

July 18: Ondine by Jean Giraudoux, adapted from the French by Maurice Valency

Ondine is a play written in 1938 by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux (based on the 1811 novella Undine by the German Romantic Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué) that tells the story of Hans and Ondine. Hans is a knight-errant who has been sent off on a quest by his betrothed. In the forest he meets and falls in love with Ondine, a water-sprite who is attracted to the world of mortal man. By turns comic, enchanting, and tragic, Ondine is considered by some to be Giraudoux’s finest work.

July 25: Great Expectations, adapted by Bathsheba Duran from the novel by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations is based on Dickens’ classic story of a young orphan, Pip, who comes into a mysterious fortune. Rejecting the love and squalor of his childhood, he attempts to win the heart of snobbish Estella, who was raised by her Aunt Miss Havisham “to wreak revenge on all the male sex.” This is a concise, large-cast, and accessible adaptation for both adults and young audiences.

August 1: Review and discussion of musicals

In addition to musicals suggested by the teens, the group will also talk about the option of replacing the fall play with a musical revue.  The teens would be involved in choosing music (with the help of a musical director) for solos and group numbers, and would help to write introductions to each song. Because of the strong interest in musicals, NBYT will also expand the maximum age to 16 for next summer’s musical, Into the Woods Jr. The group can also talk about some fundraising ideas to help pay for the cost of a full musical in seasons following this one.

All readings will begin at 6:00 pm at Trinity-on-Main, and they will end at approximately 8:00 pm. NBYT will order pizza, and teens can bring drinks and other snacks. Anyone age 12 to 18 is welcome to attend any of the readings or the musical discussion. Even someone who can just attend one of them is encouraged to attend.

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