Students Direct Original Show


Dylan Collins, Writer

The show New Colossus was a five act original play based on “The New Colossus,” a poem by Emma Lazarus that appears on a plaque in front of the famous Statue of Liberty.

The show was organized and produced by a New Tech High School alumni, Ross Kesselring, and was written and directed by students with help from Kesselring. “It was an honor to work with these incredible students. I may have come up with the idea for this show, but I owe all the credit to them,” Kesselring said.

The play consisted of five different pieces. Each piece was split in two, one half of each piece  showcased in one of two acts. Each act was given one of the major themes of The New Colossus poem: hope, generosity, love, exploration, and refuge. With such a host of themes, one would fear that the work would be overshadowed by grand intentions. However, everything was an artful balance of expression and acting.

The show begins with piece one: The Hopeful. The protagonist, Izel, goes to the library in hopes of finding some  peace and quiet to play mobile video games, when the overly chatty and nosy librarian gives Izel a book of poems. After Izel finishes reading the New Colossus poem, Lady Liberty herself walks through the door and transports Izel into all of the other pieces.

“I wrote two songs for the show,” said Dori Green, a key contributor and writer for the show. “One in the beginning and one at the very end .” Green relates strongly with the character of Izel saying, “My character is a nervous, stressed wreck. Essentially me, but under a different name.”.”

By the end of the journey, Izel is transformed into a more confident and positive person, which is clearly displayed in the contrast between Izel’s two songs.

The second piece was called “The Mother” written by student Angel Yahir Ibarra. The mother, named Lily, was the very kind and generous daughter of a strict and rich woman. The woman bought her daughter a home in return for the promise that she would find a lover to make a family with. But things don’t go according to the mother’s plans. Instead, Lily uses the home as a sort of halfway house and takes in anyone in need of a home in an effort to further her agenda of social justice.

Lily, played by Raven Reignier, was “kind, caring and welcoming,” described Reignier, “She just wanted to be the mother that a lot of these characters never had. .”

The third art piece was a dance choreographed by Taylor Robertson called “The Lover.”  In the dance, a girl, played by Rebecca Nicolosi, meets the love of her life. The boy, played but Riley Stewart, was a representation of the Average Joe. “He was meant to be someone that everybody could relate to,” explained Robertson. The piece was a  representation of the cliché love story with all of the high and low points.

“The Explorer” was a set of two films, directed and produced by Riley Stewart. The first followed the life a boy who was raised in captivity as a test subject. The second followed two astronauts searching for life on an alien planet, when they find advanced technology that is able to change the course of time. “I love film and this show gave me the motivation to finish the second part of my film,” explained Stewart. Stewart plans on studying film at Chapman University in the fall.

The final piece was a series of two songs on the piano composed entirely by musical savant, Nathan Severance. The first song is instrumental while the second had lyrics, also written by Severance. The songs portrayed the story of a refugee of war looking for a new place to live and find a fresh start. “I like playing the piano, it gives me something to focus my creativity into,” said Severance. And that seems true of all the artists and creators who came together to write, produce, and act in this show, all the way to the curtain call.