Students Receive Accolades at French Theater Festival

Contributed by Upper School World Languages Teacher Irina Posso Campana

Every year, the Lycée Français de New York French language school presents a French Theatre Festival called “Premiere Scene,” a theatre competition open to schools across the U.S., Canada, and France. Since 2008, it has become an Oak Knoll tradition for the students in our French program to participate, and they frequently win accolades.

The rules are simple. The festival organizers assign a theme in the fall, and teachers and students create a skit or adapt a play based on that theme to perform at the festival in February.

This year was the 25th anniversary of the festival, and the theme was “Humain!?” (Human). Two groups representing all high school grade levels at Oak Knoll created and crafted their skits. Savannah Ramdass ’26 authored a short play entitled Circle of Life, and Stephanie Aguinaldo ’24 wrote A Day on Earth.

Performers in the plays included: Stephanie Aguinaldo ’24, Sienna Capuano ’24, Eve Carbeau ’24, Hannah Strauss ’25, Emmanuella Chukwukere ’26, Victoria Da Silva ’26, Maddie Martin ’26, Kristen Shindle ’26, Savannah Ramdass ’26, Alani Bolivar ’27 and Emily Phipps ’27. Special thanks go to Adrienne Lee ’27 for her invaluable help with stage management.

Regarding her original piece, Circle of Life, Ramdass explained, “We wanted to encompass the core part of this year’s theme, to be human, by depicting the circle of life for an ordinary person and portraying what the identity of humankind looks like. The skit begins and concludes with the same scene: the birth of human life. So, we chose to highlight aspects of motherhood and the beauty of life.”

“When we were thinking of what we wanted to create, we wanted it to be funny but also make it an important message,” explained Aguinaldo about her work, A Day on Earth. “So to go along the lines of Humain, or human, I wrote a story about an alien who visits Earth for the first time. And basically, the characters learn that it doesn’t take a human to know what love is — love is universal.”

Once more, this year, our school received two awards. Ramdass received the Jury’s Choice for a Non-Francophone Script, and Chukwukere was awarded Best Female Performance in a Non-Francophone Role. Chukwukere performed in both skits this year and won the acting award last year as well.

Upper School World Language Teachers Irina Posso Campana and Joseph Versailles are incredibly proud of our French students’ work for this event. “They were so passionate, creative, and autonomous in their preparation. Bravo!” said Posso Campana.