The Beacon School Leaderboard 09/05

'Lord of the Flies'

Published on isbi School News dated Wednesday 27th of November 2013

St Benedict's School staged a stunning production of 'Lord of the Flies' just before half-term. It was a highly successful directorial debut for Drama teacher Richard Gee.

Review by Dr Hilary Harper (English teacher):

William Golding's 1954 novel 'Lord of the Flies' opens with a group of English schoolboys stranded on a deserted island, having survived a plane crash. Their initial delight at there being no grown-ups is soon challenged by the difficulties they face on the island including their fear of 'the beastie' and the increasing antagonism between Ralph and Jack. In America "Lord of the Flies" has become one of the most banned books ever due to its presentation of child violence and Golding's suggestion that in the battle between the capacity for good and evil within human beings evil will triumph.

Mr Gee in choosing to stage a theatrical version of the novel presented the audience with a chilling reminder of the power of peer pressure, the horror of brute force and the stress and strain of fear. His choice of play, which allowed pupils to play characters their own age, was a triumph as his admirable cast were all totally believable: capturing both the vulnerability of children as well as the capacity for cruelty in adolescents.

James Porter's Jack with his ritualistic chanting, stamping and dancing created compelling tension as his growing aggression propelled the action on to its awful, inevitable climax. Matthew Carr, as the 'elected' leader Ralph, was very moving in his portrayal of the character's struggle between decency and baser instincts. Finn Keelan's Percival was also noteworthy. As the youngest member of the cast he proved himself to be a precocious talent providing both comic release and shocking savagery.

Above all else it was an ensemble piece and the company as a whole deserve the highest accolades. The energy level they brought to the production was impressive. They were almost continuously onstage, their concentration and focus was constant, their reactions to each other convincingly naturalistic as they never came out of character. This was also a testimony to Mr Gee's detailed and thorough direction.

The integrity of all the different aspects of the production made it so effective. The story of the schoolchildren's descent into anarchy was clearly told in the costumes. The neat school uniforms of the first half became ripped and tattered; smart, brightly coloured school caps were discarded while school ties were worn round the heads of Jack's hunters as a sign of their tribal identity. Hair was dishevelled and blood and mud disguised their former identities.

Likewise the set, designed by Mr Gee and Art teachers Miss Nadia Burns and Miss Nicola Bradley, also helped to ratchet up the tension. Even though the action takes place on an island, it was clearly no paradise. The sharply raked floor divided the stage into Ralph's beach and Jack's mountaintop fort. The two camps clearly reflected the contrasting moralities of the protagonists: Ralph's democratic space where characters sat together on fallen logs versus Jack's sharp, violently vertiginous, platform which emphasised his towering and threatening presence.

Congratulations and thank you to Mr Gee and his cast and crew for providing such accomplished entertainment as well as encouraging more sober reflections on the evil of bullying and our capacity for wickedness. The production of 'Lord of the Flies' was a truly 'dramatic' experience in its excitement and emotional impact. Well done to all involved.
'Lord of the Flies' - Photo 1
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