- Sixth Form
This year, although many of the usual Sixth Form activities were limited by circumstances beyond our control, the Upper Sixth were thrilled to have the chance to stage an all-female version of “Posh”. This created an opportunity not only to be ‘part’ of the infamous Riot Club, but simultaneously this gave me the chance to get some experience of directing with the final scene of the play. The idea of playing horrible posh boys seemed very exciting to a group of 13 female Sixth formers. The Riot club members get progressively more outrageous as the play develops, showing a gradual deterioration. We all worked together as a team in order to achieve some choreographed chaos onstage.
Directing the Final Scene
I think acting in the show helped me direct the final scene, as I gained a better understanding of the play, and its themes and subtext. Act 2 Scene 2 takes place in a Gentlemen’s club, where the play began. After trashing the restaurant in which the Riot Club is holding its dinner and brutally assaulting the landlord, Alastair is being prosecuted and he is ready to implicate the Riot Club. Guy’s uncle, Jeremy, is advising him on another course of action which prioritises the preservation of the Club. When approaching this as a director, I needed to look at how to deliver the key message of the piece and link it to what has gone before. This scene is the key part of the cyclical structure of the play and how nothing has, or will, change – we are right back where we started - therefore I thought it important to replicate the exact set from Act 1 Scene 1, where Guy is talking in the same club with his uncle Jeremy. In this final scene, the audience needs to see Alastair’s character development. One in which he and the audience simultaneously realise the extent of the Riot Club’s influence. Alastair goes from outcast and taking down the Club in court to being offered a solution and a political career to keep quiet about the club. In order to achieve this, we noted where each character had power within the scene and aimed to show that with physicality, volume and tone, with Alastair eventually giving in to the persuasion of Jeremy and his team. Jeremy’s manipulation seems more shocking when at the end of the scene when it is revealed that he is a senior figure in politics, who can protect Alastair from anything. The last scene needs to keep the audience engaged as the content of the scene is not as exciting as the previous calamitous scenes…but it delivers the key message. At the end of the fateful Riot Club dinner, the audience thinks there might be a possibility of justice, but as this final scene develops, we see that Alastair will not only get away with it, but he will be protected by former members of the Riot Club who are now powerful figures throughout the establishment.
I will forever appreciate this opportunity to act and direct as it has given me a proper insight into directing and the hard work that goes behind it. The production of this play was a real light in a dark time and we were able to spend time working on something that we all thoroughly enjoyed. I was very grateful for such a kind and fun group of people to work with. This will always be a great memory and it was a lovely way to end our LEH acting career.
By Sylvie (U6J)
The performance of Posh was an exhilarating part of the process as the rambunctious rage of the Riot club lent itself to a huge amount of on stage action. From a full cast food fight and a nightclub scene, we certainly weren’t short of memorable moments, with having to ‘dregs’ 9 glasses of salt, bread and soil-laden water in front of a live audience being a particular highlight, though not for my character. The use of props in the play though slightly stressful at times, really brought the play to life, with the whole cast eagerly and anxiously awaiting the aftermath of the relentless smashing of sugar glass bottles and plates, not to mention having to eat actual food on stage, which resulted in several lines being garbled by full mouthed performers. Though our performance itself wasn't naturalistic, the precise attention to detail from the tech crew with regards to our props and set added another dimension to the play, making some scenes seem all too real at points. The tech crew consisting of Mr Spry and Miss Walker worked tirelessly to ensure that even during the pandemic we could work safely and professionally, sanitising the set and props before and after rehearsals and even spacing us 2 metres apart on the dining table where most of the action took place. Without them, the production would not have been possible, let alone have been as fantastic as it was. We were so excited to share our work with the rest of our year group as it’s not often that you end up with a school play that has such a wide appeal, and having assured everyone not to expect a complex three hour Shakespeare play or a terribly serious Chekov piece, we were hopeful for a large audience. To our complete shock, we had the largest turn out to a Sixth form play there had ever been, with most of our year group turning up as well as countless teachers. This helped to fuel the energy of our performance as we wanted to do ourselves proud as well as prove that even during a pandemic theatre is still viable and give our peers some much needed light relief at the end of a gruelling term. Additionally, thanks to the IT and tech crew, we were able to livestream the show to other friends and family who even under normal circumstances may not have been able to see the show due to living abroad or not being able to leave children at home alone. The performance was incredible, thanks to the tireless efforts of Ms Bedford, Mr Spry and Miss Walker, the cast and supportive cheers from our audience and we can assure that the play will go down as LEH history as one of the most exciting, exhilarating and daring plays ever to grace the Jane Ross Theatre. Lastly, during a precarious time for the arts industry, it was even more pertinent that we were able to pull off such a challenging but successful production, proving that the arts are invaluable to our society.
By Emily (U6A)
All photography by Big Image
- LEH Drama