French Heritage Students Shine on Stage
Francophone students from across New York City, and from as far away as San Francisco, converged on the Lycée Français de New York last Friday night for the school’s annual theatre festival, Première Scène. Among the fourteen troupes that performed were three from the French Heritage Language Program: Bronx International High School, International Community High School (also in the Bronx), and International High School at Lafayette (in Brooklyn). After the curtains finally closed, French Heritage students walked away with two coveted prizes. The Prix d’interprétation feminine (best actress) went to International Community’s Hassanatou Samaké, while the Prix du meilleur espoir (most promising actor) was awarded to Bronx International’s Moubarak Teouri.
Meticulously planned and broadcast live on the internet and on a big screen in the school cafeteria, the festival kept its student-actors’ nerves on edge. During last-minute rehearsals, competing groups eyed each other warily. A few French Heritage students worried about missing cues or making grammar mistakes (in a hallowed Francophone institution no less!). But when the time came to step on stage, apprehensions melted away. The three French Heritage groups all put on lively and provocative performances that played on the festival’s theme: changements (changes). Garbed in traditional costumes, Lafayette’s students depicted the upheaval of revolution and racial tension in turn-of-the 19th century Haiti. That they managed to infuse this serious subject with comedy and romance is a testament to their well-crafted work. International Community and Bronx International both riffed on themes of family conflict and marriage. For International Community, a mysterious American suitor and an overbearing mother provided plenty of comic material, while Bronx International chronicled the romantic misadventures of a bachelor who achieves fame as a French DJ, and returns to his home in West Africa with hopes of finding a wife worthy of his now-lofty name.
With a full house and echoing applause, the Lycée’s 15th annual festival was undoubtedly a success. Not only did the event put the spotlight on an extremely talented group of student-actors, but it also connected diverse communities of American Francophone students. If next year’s festival is half as impressive as last Friday, then we have much to look forward to.
Premiere scène award winners 2014:
-GRAND PRIX DU JURY: Tu trembles (Ecole Bilingue Active)
-Prix d'interprétation féminine: Hassanatou Samake (International Community High School)
-Prix d'interprétation masculine: Loïc Suberville (Lycée Français de San Francisco)
-Prix du meilleur espoir: Moubarak Teouri (Bronx International High School)
-Prix du meilleur choeur: L'île des Esclaves (Lycée Français de New York)
-Prix spécial d'écriture: On dîne demain soir (Lycée Français de San Francisco)
See all the pictures from the show here:
Photo credits: Marine Behilil and Da Ping Luo, courtesy of the Lycée Français de New York
The French Heritage Language Program is an education program of FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) which offers free French classes to underserved public schools and community centers across the United States. All of our students are English Language Learners from West Africa and Haiti who recently immigrated to the United States. The objective of the program is to help these students keep strong bonds with their heritage language and cultures, reinforce their literacy in the home language to accelerate their acquisition of English, and facilitate their integration at school and in the professional world.
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