Performance of Twelfth Night at St John’s College 8th & 9th March 2017
There was a palpable air of expectancy and curiosity when it was announced in September 2016 that the next and ambitious stage performance in the school hall would be Shakespeare’s comedy, Twelfth Night. The auditions attracted a large number of budding actors as well as some seasoned players from past productions.
From this ever increasing pool of talent it was no mean feat for the teachers of the English Department to pare down the choices to 28 senior school members willing to apply themselves to a challenging script and hours of rehearsal during five months of a busy and demanding academic output which included preparation for public examinations and assessments. In addition to the main players it was an inspired decision to augment the dramatics with a unique blend of appropriate popular music performed by a student band of nine talented ukulele players.
Thankfully, the commitment of both staff and players, meant that they wrestled successfully with the Elizabethan language with its nuances and dramatic flourishes inimitable to the great writer. Reversing the usual Shakespearean tactic of boys playing the roles of girls the audiences were enthralled by a cast which included a goodly number of female actors taking on some of the prime male characters adding that spice of gender reversal beloved of the Bard himself and resonating with the International Women’s Week during which the performance took place. With a stunning set and costumes worthy of any Fashion House this was a tour de force that ranks with the best of the high standards set by St John’s in the many public performances of the past two decades.
Malvolio’s declaration: but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them…. was never so aptly applied but to the cast who were:
Hannah Watkin, Leon Shen, Kate Davies, Maddy Constable, Jack Aldridge, Mike Lingham, Stephanie Monti, Eilidh Findlay, Hannah Symmonds, Elle Watermeyer, Niamh Field, Robert Field, Tom Hill, Joe Morris, Anais Fisher, Keya Gandhi, Sachin Patel, Sanjana Kamath, Ansha Khurana, Crina Capatana, Jemima Beere, Elizabeth Lewis, Shreeya Bundhoo and India Hall. They were accompanied by the Illyrian Ukulele Consort, Directed by Francis Taylor: Alif Aziz, Jade Beynon, Rowan Downie, Olivia Montgomery, Harini Somasekar, Daniel Siromani, Richard Discombe-Short and Idris Kriker.
The dedicated behind-the-scenes staff responsible for the smooth running of every aspect of the play cannot be gainsaid. The success, however, lay firmly in the grasp of the students who, under the direction of Mrs Bridge and Mr Cooper rose to the challenge and gave us a theatrical experience that will live on in our memories and the annals of St John’s for many years to come.
Mr G. Goode
11 March 2017
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