Jasmine & Juniper: First student-produced musical at OG

The Jasmine & Juniper Musical in English Project was a full-semester production whose entire cast and crew consisted of no less than 40 prima-through-sexta students, with the older students serving as acting and backstage coaches to the younger ones. The project culminated in four stellar performances of Jasmine and Juniper, a musical that first premiered in schools in the United States in 2007, with its Czech debut here at the Open Gate theater on December 8th and 9th. Open Gate English Department faculty member Ms. Domi Adamova conceived the musical on inspiration from reading The Little Prince by de Saint-Exupery. Ms. Adamova also wrote the script and music for the play, and directed the production with the aim of providing each and every student the utmost opportunity to let their individual talents shine, as actors, set designers, singers, musicians, sound and light engineers, choreographers, dancers, and so forth. Jasmine and Juniper imparts to the audience valuable life lessons as we travel along with the protagonists to a number of distant planets, each characterized by such human vices as greed, consumerism, tech-obsession, and vanity, until they finally discover a lovely green planet inhabited by a wise gardener.

The Production Process

By participating in this project, students benefited from learning life skills, such as building teams for specific goals, establishing friendships across age groups, learning to collaborate with others on a long-term complex creative project, and using English throughout the entire process. While some students honed their on-stage performance skills, others learned about creating props, costumes, designing sets, working with theatrical make-up, choreographing dance scenes, mastering the complex technical abilities of stage lighting and sound engineering, and promoting the performances to the public by developing a promotional material in print as well as digital-based publicity for social media formats.

Several Open Gate student-musicians and singers met and rehearsed regularly throughout the semester in order to master the songs and instrumental music for the play. The students also lent their creative talents to the score through improvisation and by coming up with new song arrangements. They showcased their innovations both onstage and on the Jasmine and Juniper CD Soundtrack, which was available in CD format for sale at the performances, and which sold out quickly.

The full-length evening shows for the public offered not only one-of-a-kind entertainment but also delicious homemade baked goods and refreshments during intermission, all prepared by prima and sekunda boarding students under the lead of their counselor Ms. Vladka Gibalova. All proceeds from the Thursday show went to the Theater in English club and all proceeds from the Friday shows supported an OG student in-need.

Here is a link to a short video about the whole production process. For those of you unable to attend the live performances, an entertaining video with highlights from the shows will be posted on the Jasmine and Juniper Production Facebook page soon. And here you can find a photogallery.

Robert Wyss