Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Tim Rice
AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION is “a contemporary musical take on a grand classic tale of the timeless bond between an enslaved Nubian princess and an Egyptian soldier.” This story of forbidden love between two people from very separate backgrounds and stations in life examines overcoming differences, the conflict between duty to one’s people and one’s self, and the consequences of war. For a full summary of the plot check out the MTI show page.
What Makes This a School Edition?
Like all MTI School Editions, AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION comes with study and director’s guides to help students and teachers create a strong, multi-faceted production. Key cuts were made to abridge the piece and make it a more reasonable length for high schools. Click here for an outline of the major differences between AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION and AIDA. Additionally, the vocal parts have been adapted to better accommodate student voices.
The timeless story of two people in love despite all of their differences that ought to keep them apart resonates so strongly for a reason. The idea of a love that overcomes obstacles meant to keep lovers apart is very moving, and the promise of being able to do so has inspired generations throughout the ages. AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION brings an epic tale of this kind of love into schools with a contemporary sound that makes it fun and moving for students. This excitement can be cross applied to other curricular pieces of literature that share similar themes, for example Romeo and Juliet. Furthermore, high school is a time when students struggle with being different, categorizing themselves, or being categorized by others, into groups, while searching for the people or person they belong with. At its most ambitious, AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION can help students process this element of the human condition, and at the very least it’s a way for students to see that there are some things that bond us together as humans regardless of our race or time period.
Radames’ struggle between his allegiance to his father, his family and his country and his own desires, including his love for Aida, is also something that high schoolers can relate to. Aida is similarly caught between her responsibility to her people as their princess, regardless of the fact they are now slaves, and her love for the prince of the people who have enslaved them. She also wonders how to lead and inspire her people in the current state of slavery. These are all important questions for students to think about and ones that can be applied to their lives in a broader sense. As people transition from teenagers to adults the question of responsibility to one’s family versus fulfilling all of one’s desires often begins to take central focus. Issues of slavery and freedom are always important ones, and because AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION personalizes the issue by giving faces to those involved, it can bring context and dimension to what otherwise might be a didactic lesson.
Finally, one of the most important points in AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION that can be applied to current events is the question of the consequences of war. The show questions the “to the victor goes the spoils” mentality of war, and puts the conqueror and the conquered face to face. The idea that we must see humanity in our enemy, and in fact can even love them, is crucial. In world riddled with conflict and fighting, a show that highlights the costs of war can benefit all those who see and participate in it.
AIDA is a modern take on a classic work, and AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION goes one step further to make that take even more accessible for high school students. The classics are such because they get to the central core of what makes us human, and live in subject matter that helps us process what it means to be alive. However, often times, students have trouble finding a way into classic texts because of style or language. AIDA: SCHOOL EDITION can be a gateway to helping students appreciate and learn from stories that have been told from generation to generation for a reason.
Licensing and Community
To get information about licensing, click here.
To see PHOTOS or get information about SET, PROP and COSTUME RENTALS for the show click here to visit MTI Showspace.
About Ella Rose Chary
EllaRC is a bookwriter/lyricist and musical theatre lover. She’s a new contributor to MTI Marquee – add her as a friend on MTI Showspace or check out her musical theatre and social justice blog, Stageleft.