Amélie - November 01 - November 03, 2018

The Beacon School

 A Note from the Director 

At the end of the B’DAT 2017-2018 Season of Magic, I sat down with our student leadership team and asked them directly – “What do you want to focus on next year?” and they unanimously said “LOVE” as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Of course they want to curate love… these magical people could not be more loving, nurturing and generous- to their community, to each other, to their art.

 

In a world where just doing one’s history homework can send a sensitive kid into a tailspin… a safe space to just be loved is a hot commodity. B’DAT is bigger and stronger and busting at the seams with students eager to work hard and find their place.

 

Times ARE hard for dreamers.

 

I saw Amélie on Broadway because I love the whimsy of the film and I love the immediacy of musicals and yes, I adore Phillipa Soo too. But the big stage dwarfed the delicate story and even then I could imagine reworking the production for a black box knowing it could have a long long life as an adored high school production. It’s just sweet enough, just cheeky enough, and pays us each day in waves of love and positive feels. (Ask Flora if you need a tissue.)

 

I also happened to be in London the day Lady Diana was laid to rest and the experience of standing among a nation suspended in such a state of mourning and admiration is exactly what this play feels like to me. All of the characters in Amélie are so complicated. Our job is to surface the hopeful optimism suspended somewhere in the deep grief each of them carries. As Amélie fights through her paralyzing anxiety to “do good” like Lady Di, we see our own potential to do the same. To me Amélie is like a lovely balm to mend any bruise on the human heart.

 

For B’DAT, this project has been quick, unexpected (we didn’t know we were granted the rights until after we’d announced a shorter season) and joyful. When fifty empathetic and creative young people assemble in one place the wall of feelings that radiate from their very beings can feel like a tsunami of want, expectation, frustration, and rage. But I’m a firm believer in the power of art to heal, transform and inspire the best in us to surface when we need it most.

 

Amélie speaks to the gift of the human imagination to protect us in times of fear and the power of our community to help us discover our best selves. So our Amélie, our 9th high school first, is B’DAT play number #31, and I’d like to dedicate it to every awkward human, large or small, who has ever dived so deep into their own head waiting for someone, anyone, maybe even Whitney Houston, to come fish them out. You are my people and I’m so grateful to make plays with and for all of you.

 

May we all be “granted the grace to amplify” the love in this world, one simple act of kindness at a time. Do good out there, friends. The world needs you. Thank you so much for coming to our play.

 

More love.

 

Jo

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