10th February 2022
Writing: Jonnie Kimmins (Year 13)
Photography: Nik Damarell (Year 13)
Editing: Rory Collins (Year 13)
As of writing this, it’s been almost two months since the finish of the Senior Play - The Tempest - and it was such a fantastic experience, especially for me as one of the Directors. For roughly three months we planned and rehearsed, and it was all we could think about - especially as there was so much to organise! The set, props, costume, tech, music, and all the boring management tasks (like finance) too. Everyone really pulled together on the work and despite the unreasonable stress that we were under, I think it’s quite safe to say that the end product looked great - dynamic, interesting lighting, a set filled with plants (which we were strongly advised to avoid!), symbolic costumes, thematic music instrumental (get it!?) to the atmosphere, and a wizard’s staff impressive enough to make your local mage extremely jealous!
The play itself was an interesting one. Considered to be Shakespeare’s last play and his most ‘modern’ in the renaissance sense of the word, The Tempest is a story about a wizard named Prospero (the former Duke of Milan) who lives on an island with his daughter and two enslaved spirits who do his bidding. He, through magic, attempts to destroy his enemies, who he has moored on the island. Eventually, he forgives them and they reconcile with a big wedding, Prospero is given his Dukedom back and he finally frees the spirits. Classic stuff.
When in initial discussion about the play, the other Directors and I worked out that in a modern interpretation, it was impossible to ignore the connotations of the enslaved spirits in a pre-empire, pre-slave trade play, so we took a post-colonial interpretation - framing Prospero as an evil and cruel master, who used his power to harm others and restrict their freedom. This allowed the actors to explore more complex interpretations of their lines, and I hope it gave the audience some food for thought.
Of course, the main issue that comes with Shakespeare is the often archaic language and extremely nuanced or hidden meaning within the lines. Working with the cast to slowly unlock the significance of the Bard’s words and the play as a whole was a rewarding experience as a Director, as was spending so much time with the cast: strengthening friendships that had seen many a school play, and forging new ones.
I’ve been pestered by the Journalism Team to hand this in for about two weeks now, and to be honest the reason I’ve taken so long to write this is because I don’t think I want to let go of the play - it meant so much to me and so much to everyone else who took part in it - and writing this article feels like really ending it. To anyone interested in drama at this school, I implore you to take any opportunity you can - you won’t regret it!