15 mini plays bring tears and laughter at The Perse
24 Nov 2016
A group of 10 Upper Sixth students devised and staged fifteen-mini plays taken from a collection compiled by Craig Taylor that was originally published in a column in the Guardian newspaper.
Student director Franklin Nelson outlines the journey from rehearsals to performance:
After a few initial casting and staging hiccups, preparation began in earnest in mid-September for the staging of the Upper Sixth play. In keeping with the tradition of it being a comedy, I opted to select fifteen mini-plays taken from a collection of more than ninety put together by Craig Taylor, a writer who has documented life in Britain in several of his works.
Tinged with sadness and humour in equal measure, set in an array of locations from the local hairdressers to Heathrow airport, and with characters ranging from slightly morbid first-time buyers through to pushy parents via a funeral parlour and sexual health clinic, Taylor’s collection of short plays not only acts as a window into everyday conversations, some difficult, some light-hearted and some no doubt familiar to us all, but also, arguably more importantly, attests to the assortment of idiosyncrasies of which the British character is composed, and to the sometimes eccentric nature of the citizens who people this island.
Assuming the role of Director was one I jumped at when ideas about the Upper Sixth play were first mooted earlier this year, and it has proven to be a great experience.
Whilst, at times it was difficult to balance the role with submitting coursework, finalising my UCAS application and participating in other extra-curricular activities, I managed to come through unscathed, and would like to reaffirm my gratitude for the support and encouragement I received from friends, family and members of the English and Drama department. A special mention must go to Messrs Green, Hawksworth and, above all, Smith, without whom the journey from rehearsals to finished performance would have been a lot more stressful.
Last but by no means least, I would like to thank the cast for their enthusiasm and commitment to the initial project, and pay them credit for the speed with which they acquired their characters’ nuances, something so important in scenes of short dialogic exchange. Anna-Katrine, Chris, Hannah, Lucy, Pierce, Tom, Wafia and Wilf – I really hope you have enjoyed donning your thespian caps for the final time in your Perse careers.
Throughout the process, the combined efforts of students and staff, both on-stage and backstage, in ensuring the Perse’s annual dramatic pursuits are a success became even more evident to me. To finish, all I shall say is this: do keep coming to watch!