Literature Live’s best show yet

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About 150 IB English seniors students showcased Literature Live at Old Town Artisan Studios on may 23. Literature Live is an event in which the students perform small scenes from novels, plays, or short stories they have read throughout their high school career at La Quinta High. 

The scenes varied in length from 30 seconds to about two minutes, consisting of groups of one to three people. Throughout the night, these students remained in character, standing or sitting still, until their scenes were activated by the audience members.

The triggers for the scenes could be discovered by reading the signs that were located next to the students, which also included a short synopsis of the book they chose as well as context clues relevant to the scene performed.

The triggers varied from picking up an item, giving one of the “characters” an item, saying a line, or even spraying them with a spray bottle, as was the case for Spencer Lowell ‘18, who performed a scene from “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway. The students performed scenes from more than 23 separate literary works in all, with scenes from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” as the most popular choice among the performers.

One scene was from a short story from Dubliners, a collection of short stories by James Joyce, that took place in early 20th century France. One particular story from Dubliners, “After the Race,” was brought to life by the students, in which a middle-class man, Jimmy Doyle, having just inherited a lot of money from his father’s business, feels compelled to fit in with rich businessmen who have become his acquaintances. He ends up out of his depth and, unable to keep track of things, gambles away almost all of his money. The scene pulled audience members in at the end of the story, witnessing Jimmy losing terribly in a game of cards at the end of a night of partying and drinking. The protagonist suddenly realizes he has just lost all his money.

Another scene came from “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. The story revolves around a group of young boys being stranded on an island, far from civilization, who are forced to adapt and survive. Most of the book revolves around a power struggle, as the boys try to determine who should be chief of the group. The scene performed by Jeremy Baker ‘18 and Paul Cassie ‘18 involved the member of the antagonistic group, Roger, killing a member of the protagonist group, who was Piggy, with a large rock.

IB English Teacher Mrs. Bickford said, “I think it was perhaps the best Literature Live we have ever had because of the opportunity we had to stage the event outside of campus. We’ve never had that kind of space before and the beautiful scenery was good for making the settings of many of the performances.”

Bickford also added, “Although the project only starts a few weeks beforehand, the event is something many of the senior students look forward to the whole year.”