It all started back in January, when the Junior Drama Club decided that they would like to move on from all the drama games and short scenes which we had been working on, and focus on a much bigger goal: a Junior Drama Club Performance in front of a large audience! It was revealed that the Junior Drama Club would be performing an abridged version of Shakespeare’s comedy, Much Ado About Nothing. There were a large number of pupils keen to walk the boards, and, after auditions had taken place, the cast list of 25 pupils was finally revealed!
The cast enjoyed blocking and rehearsing their scenes every Thursday at lunch time, and it soon became clear that we were working with some very able young actors. The rehearsals turned into creative workshops, with many of the actors coming up with ideas for humorous scenarios, which were later added into the performance. This proved that the cast had really begun to get a feel for the Shakespearean language, and the comedy acting became more and more natural.
Finally, on Friday, 13th June, 2014, the Junior Drama Club presented their modern version of ‘Much Ado’ for an audience of Year 9 and 10 pupils, and the parents of the cast. The audience remarked that it was nice to see a Shakespearean play performed in such a modern style, with lots of disco lights and chart-topping music…with some animal noised thrown into the mix!
The cast all looked completely transformed in their various costumes, from the military ensembles worn by the soldiers, to the ‘glamorous’ wedding dresses worn by the brides, and it all added to the comedy effect. Shakespeare wouldn’t be Shakespeare without a scene in the local nightclub, with the cast in fancy dress costume (Fairies, Unicorn Onesies, Hula Dancers, the Flash, etc), and party poppers and balloons placed artfully around the set.
The cast themselves did an excellent job at conveying the Shakespearean language in a way which audiences found quite relatable. There were many instances for humour, especially between the characters of Bendick and Beatrice, who just love to hate each other. Balthasar and his backup singers performed an excruciatingly painful rendition of “Sigh no more, ladies”, much to our amusement, and the shaving scene with Don John also provided comedic relief. Verges and Dogberry were great at convincing audiences that they were completely nuts from the moment they galloped their invisible horses onto the stage, and Claudio and Hero performed their romance in an hilarious and exaggerated style, sharing “moments” and sighing in Love’s agony, such was their passion for each other. There was a great amount of talent on display (and I’m not just talking here about Ian Pinkerton in a mini skirt and fishnet tights!) and we are all looking forward to next year’s Junior Drama Club production. Well done to the cast of Much Ado!