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"We were meeting practically every weekend for five hours. But we’re a tight-knit group and the flow of ideas came so naturally, that’s why our commitment for this has been immense. The vibe in our group is something that can’t be bought.”
More than 30 students are involved in ACG Sunderland’s first-ever student-written-and-directed musical production ‘Lila.’
Inspired by the daily lives, friends and experiences of students Erin Geraghty and Shannon McDonald who are overseeing the play, the pair say they also wanted to capture the feeling of ‘Asi’ – the spirit or presence of the unseen.
“How do you achieve that feeling of climax in a performance, like goose bumps or tears?” asks Erin. “This was the main goal of the play.”
She said going through teenage ups and downs stimulated much of the material, as well as the group’s cultural and spiritual beliefs, which brought about a lot of soul searching to uncover what ‘Asi means to them.
It had been a long journey of talking, planning, writing and re-writing since the beginning of the year, Erin said.
“I swear we wrote six plays in the process of writing our final play! We were meeting practically every weekend for five hours. But we’re a tight-knit group and the flow of ideas came so naturally, that’s why our commitment for this has been immense. The vibe in our group is something that can’t be bought.”
For Erin, a talented musician, this is her first time devising a play. She said it had been a great experience to learn how the writing and directing process evolves ‘as well as everything in between’.
“There have been stressful moments, but we managed to overcome them. Now I am looking forward to the audience’s reaction and to see the whole show put together. Hopefully they see something they relate to,” she said.
Teacher Cecelia Faumuina Khakh has been supervising the small writers group. She said watching the girls see the project through to a finished narrative, which involves a lot more cast and crew than they expected, was exciting.
“The production looks at issues true to what young people may experience today – career choices, family drama, bullying and staying true to themselves. I feel the story line is its strength and I know a lot of thought and many hours went into it to make it what it is now.
“There has been a lot of stress and worry in the journey they have taken, but there has also been grit and resilience shown to see the dream through to the very end.
“It has been inspiring to see students be so determined.”