Every year, Sha Tin College sees an outstanding display of talent and passion through the annual school production, and this year was no different. Anansi, 2016’s musical production, was a great success, as the drama studio in which it took place was filled end to end all three nights of the show. Organised by our very own teachers Mr. Harris, Ms. Parry, Mr. Nicholson, and Ms. Swain, the play told the story of a young girl and her mother who were kidnapped and sold into slavery, Anansi spider stories serving as a source of strength throughout their difficult journey on the slave ship.
Unlike previous years, the roles were spread across the cast, allowing everyone equal opportunities to showcase their talent and love of performing arts. The audience saw characters played by students from Year 8 through Year 13, each performance just as brilliant as the last. Emily Parry of 12X2 had positive feedback on this new dynamic, saying, “It was really unlike any other school production I’ve ever been a part of, partially because it was refreshing to see so many faces project so much talent through the same roles.”
The play was originally written by Alistair Campbell, but with the help of Mr. Harris and our music teachers, was turned into an original production with re-written Anansi stories and carefully orchestrated music. With a cast made up of 48 committed students, Anansi would not have been so great of a success without the help of the 5 student musicians and backstage crew, who managed set design, makeup, props and costume, as well as the other technical aspects of lighting, projections, and sound. A big thanks also goes to the 15 members of staff who were involved with the promotion of Anansi, and who helped out on show nights.
Another notable feature of this year’s production was the use of yet another new set design. With the school’s second block undergoing construction, the play could not take place at the school hall, its usual location. The drama studio was temporarily converted into a theatre, with an unconventional stage of a white rectangular space constructed onto the wooden floors, all but one side surrounded by elevated rows of chairs to serve as seating for the audience. This allowed for a unique experience, closing the gap between the audience and the performers and thus, creating an intimacy like no other.
Taking place over an almost 4 month period, Anansi was a huge part of many students’ school lives for the first term. “Anansi has been a great experience,” Bonnie Ng of 11D2 commented, “ I’ve gained a lot of new skills and on-stage experience as an actor, and through rehearsals, I’ve socialised with different people, and so developed new friendships!”.
For the 3 graduating Year 13 students of the Anansi cast, the show’s last night proved to be a very sentimental occasion for them all. After many years of dedication towards Sha Tin’s school productions, it was time for them to say their thanks and their farewells. On Friday night, Wesley Lor, Sinead Creagh, and Chris Cheung of 13D1, 13D1, and 13D2 respectively, took center stage and wrapped up their last performance with a heart-warming speech that had the audience laughing and tearing up with them. “Thank you to Mr. Harris and Mrs. Parry for inspiring me,” Wesley said, motioning to the two smiling teachers, “ I am forever grateful to have performed Anansi as my final production at Sha Tin College”. With a final round of applause, the three performers handed out presents to the 4 teachers who were the driving force behind this production, in a show of appreciation for the support, mentoring and motivation that they had provided.
This year’s Anansi was, without a doubt, another successful school production.
Alyanna Payos, 12X2