The Thrill of Love

Having unfortunately cancelled the original Sixth Form play (The Picture of Dorian Gray), I still wanted to produce something with the few actors that wanted to continue with me. I looked online for plays with casts of five, but most plays of that size have male casts. I emailed one of the Speech and Drama teachers - Mrs Oxborrow - to ask for recommendations, as the department knows lots of great female-orientated plays. Immediately she replied with lots of recommendations, and what first grabbed my attention was ‘The Thrill of Love’ which tells the story of the last woman to be hanged in England, Ruth Ellis and her tempestuous relationship with David Blakely, inflamed by her affair with Desmond Cussen which led to her shooting Blakely. After researching her story, I decided that this play would be the one I would direct. The casting fit my actors perfectly, and so it was easy for me to give them all a role.

Despite the play being performed the week after our A-level mocks, all of the cast got to work quickly on learning their lines over Christmas. We began rehearsals in January, slowly going through the play and working on a thrust stage. It was very different to how Dorian Gray had been rehearsed, as we found that with only three weeks, we could not delve as deeply into the plot and characters as we would like to. However, I found that all of the cast took the time to think about their own characters and bring depth and understanding to their performances. They always made my job easier by arriving at rehearsals ready to work and excited to perfect each scene. My ideas for the story were constantly changed as each of the cast showed me a different side to their character, making the project a group effort and helping us to become closer even though we hadn’t worked together for too long.

Before long it was the tech rehearsal, and the cast were still nervously forgetting their lines. It seemed inevitable that this would happen, given how little rehearsal time we had, so we didn’t let it worry us because we still had time. There was no doubting the amount of effort that they had all put into pulling the project together, and both nights were a success. I am very grateful to my cast, who helped me to produce something so amazing in such a short space of time, and to Mr Spry and Mr Hicks, who helped me immensely in getting the props, lighting and sound sorted. I am very proud of what we have achieved together and hope that the cast are proud of their amazing performances.

By Georgia (UVIF) - Director of 'The Thrill of Love'

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