On Thursday 2nd May, the Drama students in LV and LVI (Years 10 and 12) performed their devised plays for a small audience. The girls had been working on the pieces for a few months, and the final products were of a brilliant standard.
At the start of the process, the groups were given a pack containing a variety of stimuli including poems, pictures and details of film clips which we watched together, including scenes from Inside No 9, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Everything Is Illuminated. They were taught various techniques and researched various theatre companies and practitioners, and devised these plays based on the ideas that emerged.
The evening began with three plays from our LV Drama group. The topics, themes and styles chosen varied considerably. Our first piece, Splash the Cash, followed four childhood friends who, following their lottery win, take very different paths in life. The play explores the morality of gaining too much too soon, and what we deem important in day to day life. We then watched Four Walls, a much darker play which tests the audience. Can they figure out the main character's whereabouts, previous sins and whether this is reality or one big drama to coax her? Our final LV play, The Envoy, tells the tale of Gabe, an angel with a lazy streak. When sent down to Earth, he is determined to do good and prove to the powers that be that he can make things happen, but quickly learns that humans can be far trickier and more complex than he expected.
After a short turnaround period, our LVI stepped onto the stage to perform their play, A Changeling’s Guide to Survival. The play was set in modern day Sweden; Laris is on the run from her town due to an incident at a party where she gave a fellow teenager drugs that led to him falling into a coma, and is waiting for news of the fallout from her boyfriend Kaspar. She finds herself near Enclosure, a women-only refuge in the wood. She steps into the refuge and what is known is suddenly tested. Relationships change. Ideologies switch. And now we are amongst the nightmare. The audience watches as this all unravels.
The group were given scenes from a selection of modern plays as their stimulus for this project before Christmas. They chose Jack Thorne’s stage adaptation of the classic recent Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, and wove their own Scandinavian images to this story of the outsider invading a supposed ‘safe space’. In this initial process the girls utilised the ideas of practitioner Katie Mitchell, with her naturalistic scenes interwoven with stylised movement, live feed film and use of detailed sub-spaces. Additional stimuli included a book of Scandinavian folktales, with their strange sense of cold and isolation and danger, and their weird cast of changelings, nightmares and disease.
Once again, it was a proud evening for all involved. There is always an added joy when the students have created work themselves. Well done to all students involved.