A range of human emotions
Lord of the Flies
Mr Harknett’s thought-provoking production of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was staged in the Drama Studio by an entirely Middle Fifth cast and crew. The actors used the space skilfully, enmeshing themselves within the audience at certain times to symbolise the two ends of an island. The lighting and sound, provided by Chris Hemmings, Mark Pugh and William Wood, cleverly managed the mood of the action.
Many of our senior pupils will have studied the text for GCSE English Literature, and will know that it is a disturbing dystopian vision which explores how organised social interactions and relationships can fracture irrevocably in extreme situations. Without the usual rule of law and the conventions that stabilise society, anarchy and mayhem can come to the fore. Mob rule can have disastrous consequences.
A plane crash abandons a group of boys and girls on a remote island. One of them, Jack, remarks: “We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages. We're English, and the English are best at everything.” This remains to be seen, and order quickly dissipates. Hunting begins, as hunger kicks in, but pig hunting gives way alarmingly to the murder of two characters. The children are afraid of a beast on the island, so they form an aggressive hunting party.
The principal characters ran the range of human emotions as they tried to understand their new world. As Ralph, Tilly Hale was superb: voted democratically into leadership, she soon came to see her society disintegrate and was left to regret her inability to defeat the mob;
Otto Oldridge was a mesmerising and maniacal Jack, who led by fear: his influence brought the worst out of otherwise peaceful individuals;
Harriet Bridgwater depicted the vulnerability but essential decency of Piggy, for whom we had every sympathy as she railed against the madness of the action;
Stellan Aalto, as Roger, was Jack’s vociferous and domineering henchman
We enjoyed the shared responses of twins Beth and Katie Ledger as Sam’nerica
Alice Gittoes-Davies played a delightful cameo role as Simone, whose physical distancing of herself from the group led to her downfall;
The ensemble featured a dozen islanders who changed from tidy schoolchildren into dishevelled, pitiless killers. Their choreographed dances and hunting cries menaced the gentler members of the group. Mrs Rafferty-White designed a suitable range of costumes and a make-up team led by Mrs Hancock, Mrs Johnson and Mrs Whittall reflected the changes admirably.
It was good once again to see a pupil, Kai James, as Assistant Director, and Director of Drama Mr Brough lent valuable production expertise to the play. Behind the scenes, Aidan Robins and Archie Tear made sure that things went smoothly on stage. As always, Mr Stewart’s maintenance team built the set and Mr Saunders and Mr Fryer were on hand to rig lights and photograph the action.
Many congratulations to the cast and crew of this impressively successful production, especially to its thoughtful and enterprising director, Mr Harknett.