Spring Intensives Student Report: Designing A Musical

This year, the Upper School’s popular Spring Intensives program featured 18 courses on three continents. The Journalism Spring Intensive was tasked with reporting on some of the different Spring Intensives going on around the school. Here’s the articles from 3 students reporting on the Designing A Musical: Godspell Spring Intensive.

Lively Yet Vigorous: Spring Intensive
By Grace Chong

Music, dancing, laughter, and screw guns? The Spring Intensive Designing a Musical: Godspell features a set building crew of productive Berkeley Carroll students led byJim Kent, Technical Builder, who are also learning how to write their own scripts with Justin Indovina, Choir Director and Theater Chair. What should you expect to see and hear as you enter the Performance Space?

Jim is in charge of the theater tech aspect of the course. “Mr. Kent teaches through example. This allows us to learn by observation and experience,” said Hannah Berman ‘17. Students are hard at work, using their screw guns to build sets and designs for the upcoming show.

Although students may be unfamiliar with building sets and using tools, they are encouraged to ask questions and overcome nervousness. And in spite of being able to drink tea, listen to music, and converse with other classmates, this course is not just fun and games. “Both Mr. Indovina and Mr. Kent are helpful and motivating teachers,” said Alice Lechtchinskaya ‘17.

The sound of music and continuous drilling fills the Performance Space as students including Eugene Clark ‘15 and Chris Harper ‘15 follow and efficiently complete Jim’s assignments while dancing enthusiastically. “Considering how new this is to many of them, I am pleased how they work so well independently and as a group,” says Jim. “This intensive teaches forward thinking and how to effectively tackle a project.”

The mixed group of grades, ranging from 9th to 12th, prompts students to work together and form new friendships. According to Alice, “We became friends with people who we didn’t know. We’re a great squad.”


The Joys of Godspell
By Miranda Hall

A smell of sawdust fills the air. Curtains hang open, upbeat music plays, and a comfortable feeling spreads across the busy environment. “It’s structured but it’s still free,” said Gabby Guarna ’18. This is Designing a Musical: Godspell, an intensive that takes the theater class to a whole new level.

In Godspell, students get to take apart and build new sets for an upcoming production. They work with new tools they have never worked with before, equipment they have never seen before, and people who all have a common interest. The environment is like a puzzle. Each person fits right in place, and the entire system works smoothly.

In between building sets, the students of Godspell get to make posters, write scripts, create costumes, and see an Off-Broadway production called “The Fantasticks,” which is something that all of the students said that they enjoyed doing.

US Theater Tech Teacher Jim Kent is clearly doing a good job at keeping the energy and excitement high through all of these activities.

“It’s really fun,” said Alex DeFelice ’18.

“I’m VERY happy,” said Lily Bradfield ’18, after being asked if she was satisfied with the intensive.

Each student has a different opinion about what their favorite activity is. Some of them like learning about the tools, some of them like creating things, and some of them just like the feeling of accomplishment that they get after they have performed a difficult task.


Power Tools and Country Music
By Timur Abdullayev

“You can dance, guys,” Jim Kent, Technical Director at the Berkeley Carroll School, called out to his students as they began building the set for the upcoming spring musical, “Godspell,” to a hip hop song winding down.

While this may seem relaxed and not very productive, the students were actually hard at work and tackling each mini-project effectively.

Run by Jim and Justin Indovina, Theatre Chair and Choir Director, Designing a Musical: Godspell gives students the opportunity to dismantle an existing set, learn about tools and how they function, and begin work on the set for the Upper School’s Spring Musical.

“I’m really impressed with the teachers and their knowledge,” said Samantha Schreiber ‘15. Samantha also remarked that there is a “good balance” in the course in reference to listening to “Sweet Home Alabama” while diligently constructing wooden tables and platforms coated with black matted finishes.

According to students, assembling a set garners real merit and importance for the future.

Christopher Harper ‘15 recounts rebuilding he did after Sandy Hook with his father and how the intensive would be important for home repairs and jobs around the house.

“It teaches forward thinking, planning, how to effectively attack a project, and responsibility to be sure the project is completed as prescribed,” said Jim on what he believed his class would teach the students. “I hope they see me as an instructor, a fair instructor, and I want my students to be comfortable coming up to me and asking me for any help.”

Clearly, the balance between blasting music, dancing (arm-flailing), and careful buzzsaw usage has proven to be a recipe for success for Jim Kent and his beloved group of builders.