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The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

The Student News Site of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School

The Vanguard

Spanish students, write, direct, perform Spanish dramas

This year marks 10th anniversary of tradition
Lea Von Hilgers
Spanish 5 Honors students perform in “El Compromiso.”

A soap opera ensues as a naive woman discovers her fiancé’s infidelity. A chaotic high school reunion brings old crushes, animosities, and memories to light. A choreographed dance to Shakira’s new hit song wins cheers. All of this happened on stage on March 9 in the Lindberg-Serries Theater, during two Spanish 5 Honors plays, “El Compromiso” (“The Compromise”) and “La Reunion: Rompiendo Roo-Goo” (“The Reunion: Breaking RooGoo”), performed for Upper School (US) faculty and students.

Combining drama and comedy, the performances displayed the students’ fluency and capped off their four years of studying Spanish. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Spanish 5 Honors classes presenting plays.

US Spanish Teacher Rosario Sánchez Gómez first added the plays to the Spanish Department’s 5H class curriculum in 2013, as a unique project that would ensure the seniors remained motivated in the winter, she said.

“I thought, ‘If they have to put it in front of an audience, they will have a real purpose.’ It would motivate them, excite them or engage them. They will have to be engaged and be something that they are creative and have fun with,” she said.

Most of the past performances were romantic love stories, murder mysteries, and comedies, she said.

“Everyone wants to have a lot of drama in their plot,” Dr. Sánchez Gómez said.

The writing process consists of developing a script and characters as a class. In the initial stages, both classes brainstorm ideas and then narrow them down all together. Afterward, they break into smaller groups to develop the different scenes.

Throughout this process, the teachers give guidance by helping students with language and acting skills, ensuring they meet deadlines, and making sure that Spanish is spoken the whole time.

“I think it’s a perfect sample of project-based learning, where students produce something for a bigger audience to see and where they are in charge of the whole production,” Dr. Sánchez Gómez said.

As a homework assignment in US Spanish 5 honors, US Spanish Teacher Ana Maria Valle’s students created a character and assembled a costume for them, the director, Hannah Curhan ’23 said.

“We all brainstormed a character that we could play and that was really effective because everyone played to their strengths,” she said. “So, for example, Alexandra [Fabbri ’23] decided to play a Broadway star character because she’s an incredibly talented actress,” Hannah said.

Ms. Valle’s class’s play centered on the reunion of a parallel high school, NN&B, during which the alumni/ae become trapped by an evil Professor Roo-Goo, who locks all the doors and forces them to overcome their age-old differences to set themselves free.

The Spanish play allowed students to connect with one another, Hannah said.

“I’m really happy that the Spanish plays are a tradition because of the community around Spanish. It was really cool sitting in the audience before performing because I saw all these people coming in who I knew. It felt like a really nice bonding moment for the school.”

Dr. Sánchez Gómez’s class decided to center their plot around an engaged couple whose special day is blighted by family gossip and past relationships, Kaia Patterson ’23 said. The play was inspired by the movies the class had watched by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar about women who overcame adversities in their relationships, Kaia said.

“Our final decision on the plot was partially due to its connection to past units and themes which we had discussed earlier in the year, so it was a nice full-circle moment,” she said. “My favorite scene of the play was definitely the last one since we were all on stage and sitting together at a table. This was also the pivotal moment in the play when La Novia finds out that Mario wasn’t faithful, so we really worked a lot on this scene.”

After this scene, all the actors–swinging their hips–began dancing to Shakira: Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53, Shakira’s recent hit song scorning her unfaithful ex-partner and his new lover: an appropriate ending to “El Compromiso,” which deals with the same subject.

The TikTok-inspired dance ended the play in an upbeat manner leaving the crowd laughing, Kaia said.

Hale McGivern ’25, an audience member and current Spanish 3 Honors student, said she found both plays entertaining and appreciated the students’ acting skills, which made the plot easier for her to understand, as a nonnative speaker. Having recognized some of the vocabulary she had learned in class in the plays, Hale said it made her appreciate the language more.

“In the first play, I liked the dance and all the drama. In the second play, I liked the storyline and all the plot twists,” she said.

The plays also serve the purpose of inspiring younger students in the Spanish program, Ms. Valle said.

“The plays are something that younger students look forward to doing in their last year at the school. They allow other students to see that if they really work hard, they can also become as fluent as the students that are graduating,” she said.

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Emilia Khoury
Emilia Khoury, Managing Editor
Hi, I’m Emilia, the Managing Editor. I love to hike, spend time with my friends and dogs, and try new foods. 

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