This year’s summer intensive is the musical A New Brain, written by William Finn in collaboration with James Lupine. Finn’s work is heavily autobiographical, and A New Brain is no different. Penned after Finn’s life-and-death experience of being hospitalized and operated on from the eruption of blood vessels in his brain, the protagonist Gordon Schwinn follows a similar route. Most of the musical takes place in a hospital, where Gordon must confront his fear of dying without releasing his songs all the while being taunted and encouraged by various hallucinations.
Everyone involved in the production connected to the story and is very excited to have an audience for this performance.
“I love everything about A New Brain. It’s my favorite show that I’ve ever done hands down,” senior Davide Costa, who plays Gordon Schwinn, said. “I’ve had so long to prepare and develop the character of Gordon, I’ve had so long to bond with my cast mates, and I’ve had so long to do what I love.”
“It was such an amazing experience to be a part of this passion project, we all wanted to tell the story to the best of our ability.” junior Lauren Aquino, who plays the doctor, said.
Despite the name, planning for the summer intensive starts long before June.
“This production has been in the works ever since mid June, but it’s been talked about and brainstormed since early May” Costa said.
Though dedicating a good portion of your summer may sound boring to some, it provides opportunities for the cast that they would normally not have during the school year.
“It’s been a very long process, totalling around 3 months (which we never have that time for a regular show) and it has helped every actor in the show develop and grow. Each person in the cast is exceptional in their own way because we’ve all spent our entire summer mastering our craft and pushing for greatness” Costa said.
Though the summer intensive gives everyone an amazing chance to refine their skills, it comes with the obvious problems of organizing a group of high schoolers during the summer.
“Our schedules were very difficult to work with, especially because we all had family vacations or other activities throughout the weeks,” Aquino said.
Nonetheless, because of their dedication and hard work, everyone helped each other stay up to date.
“We are all extremely hard working, so we were able to catch each other up, and we all worked at home (we were required to have a thirty minute voice lesson once a week),” Aquino said.
Even the theater techs have been bumping up their game.
“We are trying lots of cool technical effects and lighting which I’m pretty excited about” senior John Malcor, a techie, said. Among their new toys are rented LED strips and fog machines that operate without dry ice. Hopefully this time they won’t set off the fire alarms, like what happened at one of the rehearsals for the production of The Tempest two years ago.
With the insane preparation and training everyone has gone through for the summer intensive, this is sure to be one hell of a musical. Tickets will be available online at www.seatyourself.biz/iusd, costing $10 for House seating with ASB, $13 for House seating without ASB and $20 for Orchestra seating.