The Great Comet of 1812

IMG_1374Writer: Lara G.

Visual: Jenna A.

Editor: Gisele F.

Last week, the ISM High School Fine Arts Department presented Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812, a musical that was adapted from a 70-page segment of Leo Tolstoy’s popular novel, War and Peace. ISM is the first school in the world to be granted full performing rights for the play.  

The Fine Arts Department selected this musical to perform during ISM’s centennial anniversary.  According to Ms. Hillman, the department “looked to something epic that celebrated ISM’s continual quest for innovation, challenge, and most importantly, community building.”  

The musical is set in 1812. Natasha, an innocent young girl, is in despair as she waits for her fiancé, Andrey, to return from fighting away at war.  Meanwhile, the socially awkward Pierre, though a rich, married man, doesn’t feel within his rightful place within society. Natasha eventually goes to Moscow with her cousin Sonya to visit her godmother, Marya.  While in Moscow, she crosses paths with Anatole, a fun and charming man, who, despite being married, loves courting women. Natasha accepts his proposal, unaware of his plans to abduct her. However, Marya stops Anatole in his tracks when she sees him on her turf.  She asks Pierre to tell his brother-in-law to break contact with Natasha and to leave Moscow forever. When Marya breaks the news to Natasha about Anatole’s prior marriage, it still takes a lot of convincing before Natasha accepts the truth. Eventually, Natasha realized but didn’t want to forgive herself for all the wrong she had done towards her family, friends, and especially Andrey, with whom she broke her engagement with. She knew that Andrey wouldn’t ask for her hand in marriage a second time, so she approached Pierre, whom she asked for help in seeking Andrey’s forgiveness.  The story ends when, true to Pierre’s predictions, the Great Comet of 1812 shoots across the sky, and somehow, it stops for a moment; that moment is when everyone makes a wish that their life would change, especially for both Natasha and Pierre.

Ms. Mould, a Geography and Psychology teacher, said that she really enjoyed the show, “It really felt like we were in Moscow on the stage and everything. The costumes were amazing, the set was amazing, the music was great as well! I really liked the solo Hélène did; really catchy.”

The play’s interactivity was refreshing: the audience sat on stage at round tables or stands inside the Moscow Supper Club and really got the “feel” of the setting, which reflected the mood of the story. The set was outstanding, with red velvet curtains hanging from the ceiling and old style, gilded paintings on the walls. At any point during the story, one could always tell the setting of the scene through the amazing acting of the cast and the look of the costumes and props. The cast and crew have been working really hard during the past two months, and it really paid off. All the seats were booked out and everyone loved this year’s play. We can’t to see what is in store for next year’s High School play production!