The Internationals: Behind the Scenes

by Isabella Gomes, Current Resident


Design by Audrey Pray Jr, Alumni


Just a few months ago on March 23rd, Residents of International House appeared in the debut of a very special performance, this time as unexpected characters—themselves.





In a musical entitled “The Internationals”, written by Resident artist Emily Rose Simons, who studied musical theater at NYU, the piece captured the personas of Residents who have passed through the halls of I-House over the years, sharing laughs, sorrows and even some occasional shenanigans. It is a story in honor, said Simons, of the friendships made and lessons learned throughout her time at I-House.





Featuring a cast of 25 Resident performers and musicians, both professional and amateur, and directed by resident alum Alex Notkin ‘15, “The Internationals”
showed talent and diversity at its best. It was amazing, he says, that so many people came together to celebrate this wonderful place, each with as different background as the next.




Set in the dim lighting of the Main Lounge, the same place that has hosted recitals, wine and cheese receptions, and a personal favorite—the grand table of newspapers and magazines, the musical performance transformed the space into one of sweet memories and nostalgia.


With only one month to rehearse—a huge achievement, noted Notkin—the performers practiced monologues, songs and even dancing to prepare for their performance.



 

Covering issues such as inclusivity, acceptance and unity, the musical was an ode to the three tenets that I-House holds dear: respect, empathy and moral courage.




It featured friendships and relationships made, broken and rekindled; laughs shared and tears wiped away at the loss of family; challenges overcome and distances shortened with the company of friends.

 

And by the end of it, everyone in the room felt the joy of years well-spent.




Though not every international who passes through I-House could be represented in the “The Internationals,” which runs just over an hour in length, it does represent a piece of the heart that has become this place and commemorates the truth of life here: that when we are here, we are home.



As she contemplated the transformative experiences she had at I-House, particularly exemplified during the rehearsals for the musical, Simons said:


“Working on this project for I-House was one of the happiest, chaotic, and most rewarding artistic endeavors in my life. 
I wrote a musical about the House I love, cast it with the Residents I love, and presented it in front of an audience filled with people I love, in a room filled with so many wonderful memories.
It was incredibly special.”