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Trickery, chaos, humour and comedy as talented Oundle pupils perform Shakespeare!

Published Friday 7th of February 2014 09:29:58 AM

Approaching Shakespeare's plays through performance has become an established way at Oundle of introducing the dramatic aspects of the texts and this week The Stahl Theatre hosted the 7th annual Second Form (Year 8) Shakespeare Day.

Head of English, Tim Hipperson commented, 'Each class performed a version of a play, abridged by the class teacher, and demonstrated how successfully place and character can be conveyed on an open stage.'

Accompanied by English teacher and musician Ben Raudnitz on the guitar, Declan Boyle (Sir Toby Belch) and Sophie Lee (Malvolio) led with assurance a lively ensemble cast in the creation of the trickery and chaos of the festival piece, Twelfth Night. Zoe Onyett, as Olivia, projected a calm solemnity in contrast to the humorous and rowdy revellers. The class on stage generated much energy.

Their followed a performance of Macbeth which thoroughly changed the mood. The whole cast, each with a part, stood in a circle around the main action and created a much more sinister and ominous tone. Ralph Johnston (Macbeth) and Phillippa Bourne (Lady Macbeth) were well supported by Henry Potter, Morgan Richards and the witches (Hiromi Taylor, Electra Winter, Katherine Timofeeva and Harriet Spencer).

The final group up demonstrated the pace that is essential for comedy in their performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Swift exits and entrances and the speed of the plot were firmly established. The class was led well by the main performers, in this case Ollie James as Petruchio and Lily- Rose Tebbutt as Katherina, but the ensemble acting, particularly in the final banquet scene, was sharply delivered.

Declan Boyle (12) who played Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night commented, 'I really enjoyed Shakespeare Day; the rehearsals were fun and challenging because we had to speak in Old English so we did not always understand our lines but acting and creating our character's personality made it more understandable. I learned a lot of new acting skills such as the more still you are, the more power you display to the audience.'

Tim concluded, 'Across all three sets, the command of Shakespeare's verse was assured. The enthusiasm and enjoyment were ever evident, and the depth of talent a delight. Casting of Robin Hood, the First and Second Form (Year 7 and 8) play, begins soon and it is clear there are plenty of keen actors in the Second Form.'

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