Upper School Students Debut “After the Fire”

Upper School Fine and Performing Arts Teacher Patrick Huber wondered how this season’s student production would look. A veteran of the theater scene both locally and nationally, he knew first-hand what effect the pandemic was having on shows of all sizes. What Huber didn’t doubt was the creativity and motivation of our Upper School students. When he requested original works, cast, and crew, they responded with enthusiasm, forming a team that wrote, acted in, and produced an original piece.

Huber appealed to the entire student body, hoping to recruit beyond the traditional “theater kids” to be part of the artists’ collective. He asked English and history teachers to encourage their students who enjoy writing. He exhorted music teachers to promote the opportunity to their student musicians and composers. He even appealed to advisors, noting, “You may have students who have been leaders in conversations about current events who could make a real contribution to the piece we are writing.”

“Now more than ever, the theater artists among us need opportunities to create together, to make some sense out of our current circumstances, and to share our work with the rest of the community,” said Huber. “We are gathering a collective of playwrights, actors, designers, and technicians to create an original work that takes advantage of the present circumstances to make an audience laugh, cry, and feel empowered.”

What resulted was After the Fire, a vibrant collection of vignettes that poignantly capture how today’s students feel about their world and current events. This creative and compelling performance premiered in January on YouTube. The MICDS community was encouraged to donate to secure “tickets” to the premiere, with funds going to the St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s Theater Sustainment Fund. Their efforts raised $2,350 for the fund, supporting local, small, professional theater companies that were forced to close because of the pandemic.

“After the Fire was so fun to work on,” said Allison Pfefferkorn ’23 who wrote one scene and acted in another. “Since parts were filmed separately, it was amazing seeing all of our hard work put together in the end.”

After the Fire is available for streaming below. The feed includes subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French, and there’s a table of contents that allows repeat viewers to jump to their favorite parts (click “more” in the description). Please note that this production is suitable for students age 13 and over.