The Perse School

Shakespeare brought into modern era by Perse pupils with Merry War show

1 Dec 2017

Young actors from across the Upper School brought Shakespeare into the 1980s for the Perse Winter Play Merry War.

An adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, the play stuck with the language of the Shakespeare original, but brought the situation into a more modern era chosen by the pupils.

The title of the play, Merry War, stems from the character Leonato’s comment on the turbulent relationship between two of the play’s main protagonists, Beatrice and Benedick.

English and drama teacher Tiggy Tooze, who directed the show, felt many of the issues of sexism and equality were as relevant today as they were when Much Ado About Nothing was written in the late 16th Century.

She said: “There is one scene, for example, where the character Hero is accused of being unfaithful, but all the male characters believe the man rather than the woman. That provided a lot of discussion with the cast because it’s such a current topic.

“I also blind-cast some of the parts, so we had a female Antonio and the villain Don John became Don Juana. It’s a really interesting play in terms of talking about gender.”

Miss Tooze felt the actors and the technical team of Alice Lord, Benedict Hannam (both Year 10) and Joshua Seed (Year 9) had done a great job in bringing the show together in a short period of time.

She said: “The pupils did incredibly well learning such a large amount of lines. We worked on it for about six weeks and they were extremely committed.

“It’s been a good project and they really enjoyed it. Many audience members said how much they enjoyed it as well.”

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