Shakespeare Schools' Festival
Report by Kirsten M and Andrew F, Year 10
Year 10 performed a 40-minute rendition of Shakespeare's The Tempest for the nation-wide Shakespeare Schools' Festival; the cast worked hard over many weeks of rehearsals, overcoming obstacles such as (several) rugby matches and too many eager volunteers for parts. This did not deter many of our cast, with some roles, such as Caliban having several actors performing together, and others (e.g. Miranda, Ferdinand and Prospero) switching actors to play the part, throughout. Despite the fact that this version was shortened, the cast managed to fit in a dance, completely choreographed by themselves, along with an extended introduction and a chase scene. What also made the performance so effective was that it used people to represent inanimate objects, scenes and beasts.
The cast were eager to perform and the play was performed on several occasions; not just the once at Eden Court in Inverness - the local venue for the Shakespeare Schools' Festival - but we also re-enacted the introduction scene in chapel to entice the rest of school to come and watch it when we performed at Ogstoun Theatre at School later in that week.
The introduction set the scene - showing how Duke Prospero, obsessed with magic and spells, was usurped by his evil brother Antonio and exiled with his young daughter Miranda onto ‘The Island’. Twelve years later, by the magical art of Prospero, the king of Naples and his court were 'shipwrecked', and split up, with Prince Ferdinand falling in love with young maiden Miranda, King Alonso, flustered and in eager search of his lost son and the Jester Trincilo reunited with the drunken Butler, Stephano, with whom he plots to kill the 'tyrant' Prospero with the help of the exasperated Caliban. In the finale Prospero symbolically ‘Breaks His Staff!’ vowing never to do magic again, after carefully manipulating the company with the help of his arcane, ominous spirit, Ariel.
The cast travelled to Eden Court, Inverness where they met two actors from the Shakespeare Schools Festival, Harry and Anna, who ran a workshop to help us develop our play, and to teach various games to improve, strengthen and mature our acting abilities. Some time passed before we returned to the theatre, and we just had part of the day to prepare for the ‘Big Thing’ later that evening. As soon as we arrived we jumped straight into our dress and tech rehearsals, before finally meeting the other school in the Festival who were going to be performing A Midsummer Night's Dream at Eden Court and, along with the students from Inverness College of Drama performing three monologues, would be sharing the spotlight with us.
We performed fantastically, with the whole cast putting in 100% and our friends and fellow students came alog to support us. The next day was to be the last time we would ever perform this version of The Tempest, which made us all very emotional, and at the same time, slightly relieved that all the nervousness was soon to be behind us.
Despite a few technical difficulties in the second performance and a slight error from the narrator, (who had ‘misplaced’ his script) in the third, we all were immensely proud of each other and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience - and to end it all off - we treated ourselves to a marvellous pizza brew!
A HUGE thanks to Mrs Parker and Mr Parker for devoting so much time and effort to making this the most fun and effective performance it could be!