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COMPOSITIONS

The Overwhelming

TRIGGER WARNING: Illness, Sudden Loud Noises 

In our twelfth grade drama class, we were given the assignment of creating a composition piece using a set of ingredients that was inspired by SITI Company’s composition process. Some of the requirements were the use of at least three different languages, the arrival of bad news, and a moment in which the audience cannot tell if the actor is laughing or crying. Truly, we had an invigorating time doing our best to accomplish these requirements. The composition was a challenge for us to break out of the conventional theatre that we have grown accustomed to, and to experiment with more abstract elements of storytelling. Each of our class’s compositions drew inspiration from one of two books we voted on; for “The Overwhelming,” our source material is The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

 

Our group chose to focus our piece on the theme of loneliness, branching out into related themes of anxiety, comfort, communication, and hope. “The Overwhelming” is an exploration of our own panic during the current global crisis, incorporating several personal aspects that we each felt were important to share with not only each other but with our audience. One of our core goals of this piece was to confront our anxieties and then show how we can find comfort in one another, in reaching out, in trusting that although we may feel entirely alone, we are not.

 

Our cast strongly believes in the power of relatable work. As a result, we cultivated the realism of our feelings and reactions to the circumstances of our current world. In such unconventional times, we want other young adults to know that they are not alone in feeling alone – because we too, have our moments when overwhelm trumps peace of mind. The most challenging part of the process has been truly capturing the essence of just how individuals react to said adversity. We are a group of like-minded artists who grow in the support, comfort, and trust of each other. For this reason, the piece is predominantly motivated by our own truths and vulnerability.

 

GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Tamara Carnevale, Emily Caruso, Peter De Santis, Helena Holmes, Benjamin Jonah, Stephanie Latina

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

Where Do We Go?

 TRIGGER WARNING: Mental Illness 

 

We knew our composition piece was the last group performance we would do as Carter Drama students. However, all freedom we had with choosing themes and scenes seemed to be taken away by the limitations of this new online platform. Although this didn’t stop us from tying individual scenes together through themes and motifs. We took this opportunity to explore a new idea of theatre that we never got to know. We were inspired by the classic stories of winnie the pooh and its themes. We were drawn to the idea of escapism, and how it is a theme present not only in the stories through Christopher Robin’s imagination, but also how the author A.A Milne used writing as his own kind of escapism. Our piece explores the positive and negative aspects of escapism as two sides of the same coin, and what different people do to ‘escape’.

 

GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Zoe McGarry, Mark Mendioro, Emira Mesihovic, Anika Pertudo, Sanchia Samaraweera,

Kat van Steenburgh

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

Aftermath

 TRIGGER WARNING: Drug Use, Pregnancy, Loss, Racism, Sudden Loud Noises  

As humans, we like to look for straight lines wherever we can. Linear makes the most to us, particularly when considering time. We love set “before,” “durings,” and “afters” because we enjoy the finite, so when we speak in terms of the future we often find ourselves imagining a world that is inevitable, rather than ongoing. The goal of “Aftermath” was to create a piece that paid homage to the specific, seemingly boring, ongoing lives of the everyday individual affected by the pandemic. We took a look at the extremes and mundanes around us: the covid deniers, the hobby-enthusiasts, the paranoid survivalists, and we created a story interweaving the lives of six teenagers rebuilding their disrupted support systems with the comfort they find in each other.

 

If we’re being honest, there’s no such thing as a true aftermath because nothing ends. The world and the people who live in it are always shifting, molding, changing to fit their circumstances and values. It is easy to slip into dreaming of an “after” to this pandemic that looks exactly like the “before,” but this is unrealistic and will only leave us unsatisfied. If there was an aftermath, it’d be empathy, as I find that empathy is all that we are left with during difficult times, or all that we’ve created to survive. The goal for this piece is to invoke empathy by honouring the people around us, who have different needs and perspectives but continue and will continue to live.

 

GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Nordia Agurinya, Ani Bachan, Victoria Del Balso, Sofia Duarte, Alex Encalada, Jayden Greig

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

The Game

Our piece is inspired by themes found in Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. After a couple of brainstorming sessions, we decided to focus on the theme of government control. Although the government is put in place to protect and guide the populace, sometimes they fail to do so. During a global pandemic, we see how government powers radically change how the virus affects their citizens based on level of control and understanding. For many, the pandemic has left them feeling powerless and frustrated from their lack of control. We wanted to focus our piece on these emotions and have them influenced by current events.

 

Although one would expect COVID-19 to be the most challenging part of our process, I would venture to say that, as a whole, the pandemic’s effects were not the most significant. It is crucial for a team to be connected with strong communication. Although our group was united as a whole, sometimes important ideas and instruction fell through the cracks. It was challenging to always be on the same wavelength as other team members, but in the end, we always made the effort for each member to be heard and so we pulled through!

 

The most exciting part of this piece is how our individual pieces became collaborative. Many of the scenes and sections of the piece were originally written individually and were quite different from the composition you are watching today. This piece was made from the collaboration and workshopping of 8 unique thinking students who all brought a piece of themselves to the video. This is the most exciting part of the work, as the team watches the video we see not only ourselves but combinations and unity between multiple ideas and people. To us, this composition is a mosaic of each individual and a unified experience.

GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Malcolm Kitching, Dalton Meadesmith, Alan Molsson, Vittoria Moretti, Maria Ribeiro, Alessandra Suave, Suzie Yohans

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

CANADIAN PLAYWRIGHTS PROJECT

This year, both classes of Grade 12 Drama students had the opportunity to witness a reading of a new play called My Sister’s Rage by Yolanda Bonnell. She describes the play as centred around a family coming together to send their Matriarch on her last journey and to heal from past grievances. It's a play about healing and how laughter is medicine for even the hardest of times.

Students had the opportunity to speak to Yolanda Bonnell and Studio 180 in a workshop setting.

These innovative pieces were created as a reaction to the powerful content of the play and the conversation afterwards with the playwright.

IF I JUST KEEP REACHING

The reading of the play “My sisters rage” was the inspiration behind the piece. In the play their grandmother was the one to bring their family back together and was truly the glue of the family. They saw their grandmother in the elements of nature all around them. I related to this aspect of the play as I also see my grandmother all around me. She was the glue of our family and I wish I got to spend more time with her.

LOVE

For this piece, I wanted to create a spoken word/poetry piece and accompany it with music. I wanted to create the music first so I tried to use instruments and use sound design to combine sounds that to me felt peaceful. When coming up with the words, I wanted to use as many real emotions or situations I could connect with to make it as authentic as possible. I also included the emotional connection to nature as that was the purpose of the assignment. Once the percussion came in more, the words became more lyrical and formed around the rhythm more. The whole assignment was one where I needed to let myself be more open and express myself emotionally without keeping a guard up in order for it to come out the way it did.

GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Emily Caruso, Jayden Greig

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

The Wake

 TRIGGER WARNING: Blood, Death, Sexism, Violence 

THE WAKE

Today we are grieving silenced bodies. This piece, represented by the processes of embalming and funeral preparation, is the body of a woman who has passed; quieted by death. From the first to last video, the audience is asked to recognize what this body must endure to reach their conclusion. As a result of the violence of their death, this loss and passage is not a peaceful one; it is not just. Through each piece, the body is delivered closer to its resting place and we are asked to process the emotions which come along with each stage of The Wake.

I PREPARE MY OWN OBITUARY

As girls, we are raised to expect that one day a man will either attempt, or succeed at killing us. He will be a lover, or an acquaintance, or an unfortunate coincidence (but most likely a lover). We are taught that although our demise at the hands of men is inevitable, we have some control over how it happens. Will we be smart, careful girls? Will we be beautiful and kind? This is redundant, of course, since we’ll be dead either way, but it’s nice to fantasize over how we will be remembered. “I prepare my own obituary” is just that- a fantasy. Death will not liberate girls constricted by the confines of desirability politics in life for when we die we’re still girls, and quieter ones at that. The way we lust after the romantic-tragedy of the dead girl is extremely problematic, and has infected my mind so that I am conscious of how I will be looked at in death, as so I am delusional enough to believe that I will be able to control the circumstances of such perception. This piece is an ode to that self-consciousness and delusion.

WORM FOOD

This piece, like the others, was inspired by Yolanda Bonnell’s play My Sister’s Rage. In a workshop, students were asked to write based on the prompt “The dirt underneath my fingernails…”. Originally, my poem was only a few sentences long and seemed non-sensical. However, after taking a deeper look, this piece takes a magnifying glass to the part inside each of our brains we try our best to hide. We ignore them, but the whispers of ill intent and guilt are sometimes difficult to suppress. This piece is a manifestation of this inner turmoil we all have. Although our reason is different, the emotion is the same.

THE DOLL HOUSE

The Doll House explores the themes of avoidance, loss, and dysfunctional families—three concepts that inspired me from the play My Sister’s Rage by Yolanda Bonnell. My other major influence was The Haunting of Bly Manor directed by Mike Flannigan, in its use of dolls and ghosts, but especially in the use of the track “Perfectly Splendid,” borrowed from the soundtrack composed by The Newton Brothers.

 

For this assignment, we were asked to write a monologue or a spoken word piece, and accompany it with a visual component. I chose to write this assignment as a spoken word piece, but one that reads like a script. I decided to do this for a couple reasons. Firstly, when we watched the reading for My Sister’s Rage, we were read the entire script, action blocks and dialogue, and I admired how the parts of the script that wouldn’t usually be known by the audience contained beautiful and poetic details of the story. I felt that this aspect fit very well with the theme I was working with of what we see versus what we don’t. Secondly, I felt that this format allowed for more fluidity in storytelling, especially since I was able to squeeze in those brief monologues for each doll.

 

The Doll House was filmed entirely on my phone, the majority of the filming being done in the dead of night. The cast is made up of ancient Polly Pockets and my beloved Mini American Girl dolls, and the set is on location in my own room, in the dollhouse my sisters and I shared. I knew before I had even begun this assignment that I wanted to use dolls to tell a story. As a child with an extremely active imagination, I would often spend hours constructing storylines with my toys, setting up a whole universe to explore in the confines of a tiny wooden house. Channeling that childhood fascination now that I'm older and more skilled in storytelling has been more satisfying than I could ever explain.

GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Ani Bachan, Vittoria Moretti, Tamara Carnevale

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

DRIFTING INTO THE WIND

I was inspired by "My Sister's Rage" and the pandemic to make this piece. The winter was cold and gloomy which had made me feel the most isolated I had ever been since I couldn’t go out. My Sister’s Rage was an extremely emotional piece for me. I've learned to let go of many people I’ve held close to my heart. However, my memories of them still sometimes feel like phantoms, suspended in time, never able to grasp the present. I wanted to express what my younger life felt like to me, how I feel like I’ve been taken away from it, as well as sharing the problem I have with time and how it continues to push people forward even when they’re not ready to move on.

EXTREME TRANSFORMATION

The task was to find an idem from nature that you feel connected to. Once I heard that, my mind immediately went to the volcanic rock I found in Europe years ago that was now sitting on my dresser. Once I started to really look and examine it, my mind started racing. I had an epiphany. What this monologue was designed to show you is how everything is connected. And, how you may find the meaning in it if you just give it the time.


GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Malcolm Kitching, James Monsalvi

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

GROWING

I was brainstorming ideas for the assignment when I noticed the plant sitting on my windowsill. I was inspired by the resilience in something as little as a plant, and how it is able to survive change and adapts despite being so vulnerable. This reminded me of characters in the play we watched that also overcome adversity and choose to live on despite unimaginable pain. 


 

GRADE 12 DRAMA STUDENTS

Katharine van Steenburgh, Stephanie Latina

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

SAME ROOTS, RENEWAL

My inspiration for the piece is my personal struggle with constantly comparing myself to others. Who doesn’t? I later found out that we are all cut from the same cloth and come from the same roots. This is something I spent my time during quarantine thinking about, which was around the same time I found my appreciation and love for plants!

SUNSETS

This piece was inspired by “My Sister’s Rage” written by Yolanda Bonnell. Watching the sun set has become a regular activity that brings me peace and tranquility in times of stress. Through Yolanda’s passion and appreciation for nature, I was reminded of my love for the changing colours of the sky.

GRADE 12  DRAMA STUDENTS

Anika Pertudo, Sanchia Samaraweera

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta

STASIS

This collective creation was born out of a 5 minute writing assignment that the students did on the first day of grade 10 when Ms. Baratta asked them to write about whatever was on their mind. 

 

The work explores time as a concept and time’s effects on the body - especially over this past year. It also explores perfect moments, and how relationships evolve over time through the forms of podcasts, vlogging,Youtuber accounts and short scenes. Each student was asked to write a letter to themselves - from a place of love - and have love respond.

GRADE 10 DRAMA STUDENTS

 

Teacher: Donna Marie Baratta