Three fantastic shows were presented to the examiner from Edexcel last week by the Year 12 students on our AS Drama and Theatre Studies course. The shows were really well recieved by the audience and we have high hopes for some great results in August. These plays, along with the coursework on Metamorphosis by Steven Berkoff and Equus by Peter Shaffer and a final monologue or duologue piece next term will make up the assessed work for the final grade.
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht
Brecht wrote the play whilst in exile from Germany in Finland in 1941. The play was not performed in English until 1961. It is written as a satirical allegory of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and was intended to parallel the rise of the German leader through the tale of a small time gangster rising to political power in 1930’s Chicago.
The production follows the life of Arturo Ui as he gradually rises to power by bribing, corrupting and murdering those standing in his way. Beginning with protection rackets, he gains political power through leverage and bribery.
Eventually, not content with the power he holds in Chicago, Ui annexes the town of Cicero and sets his sights on even bigger targets.
Here is a slideshow of images from The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui:
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartwright
Originally written in 1992, Little Voice was first performed at the Royal National Theatre. This comedy is set in a Northern town in England, telling the story of a shy, reclusive girl named Little Voice and her larger than life, out of control mother Mari. Desperately missing her dead father, Little Voice spends her time locked in her bedroom listening to his old record collection and perfecting astonishing impersonations of famous divas including Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Dusty Springfield.
When Mari starts dating small time club agent Ray Say, she thinks he’s her last chance for a better life. When Ray Say hears Little Voice sing, he thinks she’s his ticket to the big time. He contacts the money-grabbing Mr Lou Boo, and does a deal to get her performing at the local club. Little Voice just wants a normal life and to be loved, and strikes up a tentative friendship with Billy, the Telephone Man, who has his own fixation with theatre lights. In the background is the faithful Sadie, next-door neighbour and doormat. Not everyone is going to get what they want.
Here is a slideshow of images from The Rise and Fall of Little Voice:
An Inspector Calls by J.B.Priestley
Written in 1945 and first performed in Russia before opening in London in 1946, the play is a sharp critique of the superficial and selfish political perspective of the Edwardian upper-middle class set in late 1912.
A dinner party at the residence of the rich and influential Birling family is interrupted by the visit of an ‘Inspector Goole’. The Inspector spends the evening explaining how everyone present at the party has been influential in the life and subsequent suicide of a local girl. Although they all deny any involvement at first their hypocrisies are gradually exposed by the insistent questioning until they are left shattered by the truth of their callous and shallow behaviour.
After the Inspector leaves in the final act a surreal plot twist tells us that the Inspector was not with the police at all – he was an imposter. What is more, no girl has died in the infirmary that day, or in recent months. The family pulls its shattered pride together and Mr and Mrs Birling prepare to return to what they see as ‘proper’ behaviour. Only Sheila and Eric (her brother) seem unwilling to return to their blinkered ways, insisting that if nothing bad had happened, it was only fortunate since everything they had told the Inspector had been true and things could have gone terribly wrong.
Mr Birling laughs this silliness off and tries to persuade Sheila to reinstate her engagement to Gerald when he is interrupted by a telephone call. It is the police, and an Inspector is on his way to talk about a girl who has committed suicide.
Here is a slideshow of images from An Inspector Calls:
Well done to all of the Year 12 AS level students. You all put in a tremendous amount of hard work and made your directors’ proud. Three very different plays were produced to a very high standard.