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Upper Fifth GCSE Pupils Perform Ghetto by Joshua Sobol


Upper Fifth GCSE drama pupils performed Joshua Sobol’s visceral piece Ghetto last week to a full house in the Studio Theatre.

The first piece in a trilogy dedicated to chronicling the life of the Jews in the Vilna ghetto in Warsaw during World War Two, this play follows the lives of the once-famous artists who populated the Polish capital, but who were then reduced to living under the oppression of the Nazi regime as they faced the constant threat of the death camps at Ponar.

Embracing the Brechtian style of theatre where characters multi-rôled and focused on sharing the political messages the play contained, the ten-strong cast excelled in portraying the plight of the oppressed Jewish people.

Henry Jackson-Wells was outstanding as leader of the Ghetto Council Gens, a character whose unenviable task it was to strike an almost impossible balance between supporting the inhabitants of the Ghetto and support their Jewish culture, whilst also sticking to the wishes of the ruling party and keeping the numbers of occupants of the Ghetto ‘manageable’ by any means.

Emily Hope proved what an exceptional actress she is through her portrayal of the vulnerable Hayyah, a once famous actress reduced to sleeping in stairwells, and Hadley Butler brought some beautifully poignant moments to the production when recounting the horrors that met his company of actors when delivering their last performance.

The performance was moving and shocking in turns; from the haunting appearance of the grubby artists from beneath a pile of rejected clothing at the beginning of the performance, to the stylised representation of ‘natural selection’ and the final shocking scenes of satirical mayhem as masked actors victimised the one remaining Jewish occupant. This production of Ghetto was an extremely well-acted piece of political theatre and one which the GCSE pupils and the Drama Department can be extremely proud.
Published: May 5 2017

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