Under Pressure – Three second-years make a musical


By Theo Albert

As finals are in full swing and stress is increasing, three students from the Amsterdam University College (AUC) have decided to put even more pressure on themselves. They have taken on the task of performing a musical that, ironically, themathises the stressful nature of student life.

Under Pressure is a musical directed, written and acted out by AUC students. Rebecca Scarratt, a second-year Science and Social Science major, Neele Dijkstra, and Afke van Egmond, both second-year Social Science majors, created the musical in cooperation with AUC’s OnStage board. “We wanted to create a musical since this time last year”, said Scarratt. “We were going through musicals we liked and could make and we encountered the musical Fame”, she added. Under pressure is loosely based on Fame, but according to Scarratt, the three did not like the story and chose to rewrite it.

“It’s a story of a performing arts school that has a very tyrannical dean”, said Scarratt. “All the students and teachers are put under a lot of pressure, and try various ways to deal with it.” Van Egmond said, “the message of the musical is that when you’re at university you’re learning, but it’s not all about the grades, you’re learning how to balance everything in your life.” The musical focuses on how students and teachers, and people in general, deal with stress. “There are subtle changes over time of how each individual character has a different speed in dealing with life”, explained Scarratt. “[As] People do it differently, at different times which is fine and how it’s supposed to work”, she added.

When asked if the musical was based on life at AUC Dijkstra said, “a little bit, there are some parallels”. She clarified that neither the musical’s school, nor the dean are AUC inspired, but that many of the themes are relatable to AUC students. “So many students get burnouts or something related, and I think it’s really important to talk about that and realise that everyone goes through this”, Van Egmond said. “Everyone needs to find their own way of dealing with pressure, no point in procrastinating or pushing it away, you have to come to terms with it and deal with it”, explained Dijkstra. Balancing school work and musical preparation has had an ironic effect on the creator’s lives. “We’ve had to learn how to deal with pressure while doing this”, said Dijkstra. 

The musical will be performed at the AUC academic building on December 12 and 13. Tickets are available online via the Under Pressure Facebook page.


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