Fantabulous, Fibrulating, Flotsganian, Frantifying 20th Century Literature Drama Presentations

Thank you all for the effort and creativity that went into these productions. I felt that so much was learnt about 20thCentury drama through DOING IT! High points for me personally (althought ALL had some spark of true creativity!) will become clear as I meander through the performances. I loved the “Mums & Girls” rendition of “Under Milk Wood”. With the well chosen shifting backdrop, the great (rude- Willy Nilly) vocals by Justine and the voice (Carolyn’s) holding the whole thing together you all really breathed life into a text that some might have thought boring… but not after this… wow!
Thank you Justine, Lauren, Carolyn, Adam, Linda, Lisa who put some 24 characters on stage!. The “Candi Kids” version also helped to transform black text into dynamic event and made excellent use of the doors on each end of the stage: some fabulous characterizations here. Thank you Maxine, Jordan, Farah, Cameron, Danielle, Joeann & Roxanne…

For me equally powerful was the “Post Post Modern Jackals” transformation of Pinter’s “Ashes to Ashes” into a painful, poignant dramatic event. Pinter on the page is sometimes inscrutable, meaningless, but if you get the right staging and the right delivery you can draw out the sinister undertone, the truth to life of this malevolent reflection on modern life. Loved the two simultaneous stages: great way of using all your cast, but also helped to create the powerful sense of disjointedness that is at the core of this play…. well done Michael, Stephanie, Alyssa, Jana….

“The Awesome Round Table” produced a fabulous version of Margaret Edson’s “Wit” managing to create a sense of the whole play in a mere twenty minutes: fantastic… and nothing hurried about it either. And I loved the way Launce- as Professor Ashford- found a way of focalising so sharply the lines about John Donne’s poem :” that is not wit, that is the truth”. Power to all of you for making that single line soooo memorable and meaningful…. made me realize that I want to put some meaty John Donne into our Shakespeare unit next semester…. “but I thought it was Shakespeare…..?????” ” Yes but…..” He did live at Shakespeare’s time… and he is in the Norton Anthology Volume 1 along with the holy bard….. we shall see what we shall see…… (and thank you Olivia for a great Vivian Bearing, Joshua as Doctor(s), Shaun, David and Lina and Krystina as terrific supporting cast… powerful stuff!!!

We had two groups tackling the intellectually and dramatically challenging “Arcadia” by Tom Stoppard. Both “Team Awesome” (Katie, Daniel, Leonie, Sarah and Karla) and “The Absents” (Ashley, Ewan, Diana, Josie, Paola, Steven) brought parts of this play to life…. loved Daniel as Bernard, the arrogant, opininonated academic and especially loved the savage attack on him by the so so feisty Hannah (Karla Treeves)… oh how she loved hurling that glass of water at him!!!!!

The first of the two concluding performances of the afternoon was “Death and The King’s Horseman” by Soyinka put on by “the Non-Thespians” (handicapped by Neil’s sudden hospitalization: we all hope you are doing fine now Neill and were all very sad you could not be with us!!!!) thank you Chadia, Natalie, Christina, Ashleigh and Annalise for doing such a good job putting the whole play back together after having to recast Neill’s part….. well done!

Last but by no means least was the “JJMANK” production of Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame”… no mean feat to make drama out of two people in sacks, a blind cripple (thank you Gemma- great work!!!) and a weird butler who doesn’t know what the hell he is doing (thank you Josh!)…. yes your performance did capture something of the feel of the Edward Munch “Scream” image propped on the stage at the start…. Here we began to taste something of the appropriateness of Beckett’s vision of a world that seems to have lost its bearings…. is “Endgame” as relevant today as it was forty years ago????

And for the sake of an informative closure here is our “White Board” after our closing lecture-brainstorm….. thank you for all your input to this… will help next year…..

Have a happy and safe Summer break and I look forward to seeing many of you in third year next year: Yay!!

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