The Backstage association brings Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.
It is the beginning of May, the weather is changing and students are aware that we are entering the last weeks here on campus. Tonight, however, something else is on their minds. The musical association, Backstage, is premiering the play they have been working on for months. Some last minute promotion is being made in the RU and everywhere on campus you recognize the Backstage jackets. Whenever you sense this kind of tension you know that something is going to happen on campus. A little past eight pm, the Blondeau Amphitheater is packed with students from HEC and ESSEC. Among the crowd, you notice families as well. Proud parents that are probably unable to catch this spectacle at the end of the week when the show is being taken to a big stage in Le Comédia in Paris. Playing, singing or dancing in front of your fellow students is probably harder than performing for a crowd of anonymous spectators. You show a different side of yourself to people that know you very well. With this anxiety in mind, you can decide not to participate in one of the major stage events of the year and spend more time in the campus bar. You can also work your ass off for months and take the stage as an incredible group of confident and talented artists to leave your crowd touched and amazed. And that is exactly what happened in the Blondeau Amphi on May 2nd. The first thing you notice is the
And that is exactly what happened in the Blondeau Amphi on May 2nd. The first thing you notice is the ten-people band on stage. The musical is accompanied by live music which heavily contributes to the experience. The musicians are welcomed on stage and they seem confident. As they start playing, the audience is assured that these musicians will carry the entire show like professionals. The spotlights catch Dennis as he is Sitting on the Dock of The Bay in Amsterdam. Even for a non-native French speaker, the story is fairly easy to understand. The young sailor wonders what to do with his life and aspires to be a captain on his own ship. He encounters an eccentric fortune teller, played by Anne-Fleur, and the story takes off from there. This encounter is also good for a first musical intermezzo. At this
At this point, everyone realizes that we are dealing with a highly talented group of people. Waves of surprise and amazement run through the theater as if you are watching France’s Got Talent. The audience can sit back and enjoy this show without fearing cringe-worthy moments. Each song comes with choreography and I think you will recognize Modern Jazz, Hiphop, and Ballet. I am not an expert, but you can be sure of this: they are. The dancers are well-coordinated but more important is the excitement they exude. This is a close group and they have fun doing what they do so, without even trying, they draw you in. A little while into the story, Dennis, portrayed by Etienne, takes on his first song. It is an intimate moment and we learn that on top of being a good actor, this student has a great voice. Later on, a younger Dennis is interpreted by Arthur and he co-carries the leading role displaying talent and skill. Speaking of great voices: Simon
Speaking of great voices: Simon Catrice, president of Backstage and intellectual father of the story and script grabs a guitar and brings the first three verses of the title song. This is not meant as a full-blown musical intermezzo, it just fits into the dialogue and he gets interrupted almost immediately. In those fifteen seconds, however, he makes an instant connection with the audience. A few minutes later, his character bursts into his first real song and the audience immediately loses it’s cool. The show has officially reached cruising speed. Daphné takes the stage as Dennis’ fiancé and does not fail to make you laugh. Her acting skills, on the other hand, are far from a joke. Dennis meets a young woman, played by Inès, and the story takes full form. Inès acts, sings and dances as if she has never done anything else. Twenty-eight hours before the actors took the stage, Constance Lasserre was hospitalized. A harsh moment for one of the driving people behind the association. Her antagonist, Juliette, decides to take on two roles making her own character schizophrenic and adding another song to her repertoire. A bold move executed with unbelievable flair and professionalism.
At the end of the show, this is explained to the audience and everyone gets back on their feet. This time for Constance and Juliette. The emotional rollercoaster is complete. It is almost midnight when the performers walk into the campus bar. They are welcomed by their friends and fellow students as the stars of the evening. And rightfully so. Only a few months ago, the other artistic student association, Double Jeu, brought an impressive and highly amusing Shakespeare interpretation. It is incredible to see what a bunch of motivated students is capable of. Tonight, on the 3rd of May, there is a conference on corporate diversity on campus and Monaco takes on Juventus in the Champions League. Real sensation, however, can be found in the Blondeau theater hall in the HEC lecture building at 8pm. Missing out is your loss, and I don’t recommend it.