During the evening of the 30th of March, the IE Theatre Club took over the IE auditorium to perform an adaptation of the cult classic film “The Breakfast Club”. To say it was amazing is an understatement, as the performers, the creative department and the tech team all worked in unison to deliver a performance that made the more than 100 spectators attending gasp in shock, laugh out loud and silently weep for the characters as we all got closer to them throughout the duration of the play.
Aside from the brilliant display of skill and talent from the cast, the Theatre Club members and technical staff team also managed to showcase the powerful technical and functional capabilities that the auditorium possesses. From its advanced spatial sound system to the powerful lighting options, aided by the cast’s clever use of space, the full capabilities of the auditorium were not only put to the test but successfully displayed for the audience.
Although the cast was the face of the club during this performance, we have to recognise all of the work done behind the scenes by both the president of the Theatre Club and the producer of the play, Alessandro Rota, and the director of this play, Mercedes Rodriguez.
Alessandro Rota, 21, is an Italian 4th-year BBA & LLB student and also the proud president of the Theatre Club since 2020 and producer of this play. He’s been part of the Theatre Club since 2019, when he first joined IE as a student in Segovia, and became president a year later. He was also responsible for bringing the Theatre Club from Segovia to the IE Tower. Alessandro expresses that he is proud of what the Theatre Club has become through the passage of the years, despite all of the “rough times” the club has been through. Alessandro further highlights the diversity of the members and the accessibility of the club compared to its initial stages. When asked about the members of the Theatre Club, Alessandro clarifies that “it’s really anyone, from any degree, age, nationality, gender, you name it”, Rota also describes the members as people who are passionate about theatre and the club, and who are willing to take on a“year-long commitment” in order to bring the play to life. Aside from the skills gained from acting, Alessandro highlighted that everyone “will learn about teamwork” and other skills related to other roles required for the “intensive behind-the-scenes effort” to make the play come to life.
Mercedes Rodriguez, 21, an American fourth-year BCDM student and director of The Breakfast Club elaborates on this, crediting the play’s costume, makeup, and tech team. She also mentioned that she was part of the Theatre Club, and she occupied another role as well: the director. Although Mercedes describes the role of director as “challenging” due to a variety of factors, she ultimately describes the experience of being a director as “incredibly rewarding”, especially since she’s been directing teams of actors in the Theatre Club since she was a first-year. Being a director can be “a little tough at times”, but Mercedes expresses that she feels like “a team leader” and “somewhat like a mother because the club is like my family”. She further describes the team as ”very tight-knit” and “committed to putting their passion into something”, which sums up to give us a 10/10 rating and a recommendation to take up directing as a way of practising your leadership skills, according to Mercedes.
“If you’re passionate about it, if it’s what you love and it’s what you want to do: go for it. Nothing’s stopping you. All the world is yours to take.” – Augustus Sirbu
Both Alessandro and Mercedes expressed how challenging it was to choose a play to adapt and perform this year. Originally, the Theatre Club were going to perform the musical “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” but were sadly forced to change the story due to many obstacles, mainly legal and monetary. Alessandro made us aware that musicals have many rights issues due to the songs performed throughout the play, which for a group of small students were extremely hard to get. Additionally, Mercedes explained that the club’s budget is not set at the beginning of the year and, because of this, tends to be small. Faced with the challenges of financial and legal issues, as well as a mass exodus of club members upon the news that a musical would not be performed, the Theatre Club took pride in being resilient. With the few resources and devoted remaining members, they unanimously agreed upon performing The Breakfast Club. And what a performance they gave.
A play would be nothing without its characters, and luckily the IE Theatre Club has a regiment of extremely talented actors that represented the varied cast of The Breakfast Club. Made up of Fiona Conlon playing Breanna, the nerd, Isabella Deshon playing Bender, the “rebel”/criminal, Walter Gonder playing Andy, the jock, Ines Inchaurraga playing Allison, the compulsive liar, Marie Therese Burkard playing Claire, the class princess and Augustus Sirbu, who represented the main antagonist of the play: Principal Vernon.
As Alessandro explained, the members of the Theatre Club can be anyone within the university, the cast for this play proves Alessandro right as there are students in degrees such as BCDM, BBA, LLB, PPLE and even BIR. Furthermore, the cast is also diverse in nationality, as Ireland, Nicaragua, Romania, France, Germany and Spain are all represented through the cast of The Breakfast Club!
In order to give such a splendid performance, the actors had to prepare themselves accordingly. How did they do this? Aside from the common and sarcastic response of “reading the script and memorising the lines”, some of the students in the cast drew inspiration from previous roles they had, such as Augustus, while others, such as Fiona, related their character to certain points in their life and drew elements both she and her character had in common to create a more realistic performance. All students also watched the movie on which the play is based, and studied their characters accordingly. Some of the cast also did more research into their characters and their character’s clique. Walter studied many stereotypical American jock characters by watching movies such as High School Musical, as he explained he has always studied in the British system. Other members of the cast such as Isabella and Marie Therese studied their characters less superficially, as they looked into their characters as individuals and asked themselves very specific personal questions as if they were their characters to further understand them more and to feel more comfortable in their shoes.
In order to get ready for the show, Mercedes explained that the actors rehearse the play one time to end an hour before the actual performance. However, each of the actors gets ready for the play in their own special way. Ines’ go-to way to get ready for the play is to bond even more with her fellow cast. Fiona, originally a musical actor, usually warms up her voice and “shakes her stress off”. Augustus usually absorbs the energy of the room they’ll be performing in to feel more comfortable in it. Marie Therese becomes present and gets “everything mentally and physically in check” before doing some breathing exercises. However, the most peculiar pre-show ritual is Walter’s, whose ritual is known and admired by all the cast members and even adopted by some, such as Isabella; Walter explains that “as I get onto stage is SexyBack by Justin Timberlake”. As far as I’m aware, the majority of the cast replicated Walter’s method, and all of the cast performed marvellously!
For everyone who took part in this play, there were some moments that stood out the most for each and every one of them, either on or off stage. The director’s most memorable moment, for example, was “teaching the actors how to use a bong” as none of the actors knew how one worked. Mercedes described how the comedic nature of the situation made her remember this moment more than any of the others.
Getting to know the cast and forming powerful friendships was also one of the highlights for many people in the team, as Ines describes: the rehearsals “definitely made my week better, I looked forward to rehearsals every single week!”. For other members of the cast, various elements of the acting experience were their highlights. For example, this was the first time Fiona acted in a play, as she has only previously taken part in musicals, and also Agustus’ highlight of the play, which was getting to play as his character and further understand the God Complex of other characters and people. Finally, Marie Therese loved seeing and discovering what the IE Auditorium was capable of. In her own words, “we have a beautiful auditorium here with so many technical advantages”. However, experiencing all of the technical capabilities of the auditorium wouldn’t have been possible without Arianja from the tech team, which aided in setting up and coordinating all the lighting and audio systems in the auditorium.
Overall, not only was the play one of the best showcases of the technical capabilities of the IE Auditorium, but also one of the best displays of pure talent, skill and dedication on behalf of IE students. Attending this play was a great way of reminding me of the reason why I decided to study here: I wanted to surround myself with people who did great things with passion. I’d like to personally thank, and congratulate the IE Theatre Club for such an amazing performance. To many more!