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Achieving greatness in Twelfth Night

7 Jul 22

Year 9’s performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on the Chapel lawn this week was nothing short of spectacular and captivating. The setting can only be described as perfectly elegant and enticing; the audience treated to not only fabulous performances but to a stage, props, costumes, lighting and sound that was simple and understated yet completely perfect. 

Having enjoyed picnics ahead of the performance, students, staff, parents, friends and family joined the School on the lawn in the warmth of the evening, along with a very special group of OWs who had previously appeared in the very first performance of Twelfth Night on the same lawn over 11  years ago.  Past students as well as the School’s former Headmaster Mr Stephen Cole and his wife Jane embraced friends old and new, the air filled with conversation about times past and present and excitement ahead of the show. 

Year 9 did not disappoint!  It was clear from the first moments of the performance that the audience were in for a real treat, as we were introduced to Viola and Sebastian and the play moved seamlessly from one scene into the next.  The scenes moved at a pace, keeping the audience entertained every step of the way; and the unique setting only added to the theatre of the evening as the actors moved from the ‘centre stage’ to different parts of the lawn while in plain sight of the audience.  It made it all rather special, actors remained in character no matter if they were in a scene or moving away to exit in some way. The very nature of the setting also made it feel as though the audience were part of the performance, albeit with no actual part to play, other than to be completely immersed in the elegance of the evening, only making it more enjoyable if possible.   

Flurries of laughter rippled across the lawn in all the right places, as did waves of applause as the audience delighted in particular moments or scenes; and the final scene was met by a standing ovation that was absolutely deserved by all who had taken and been part of the evening’s entertainment. 

A stunning performance, no one student stood out more than any other in all honesty (well OK, there was no getting away from mentioning the scene with Malvolio and his yellow stockings – it was brilliant, all those involved in that particular scene were greeted with roars of laughter and appreciation from the audience).  It was clear the actors’ synergy and reliance upon one another, no matter what part they played, relied upon and came from hours of dedication through rehearsals and understanding one another’s characters, scenes and the play as a whole.  Their talent obvious and impressive. 

If you missed it, you would be right to be sad to have done so – but given the number of people in the audience on both nights, we’re hopeful that all had the opportunity to share this enchanting evening with us in School. 

Congratulations again to everyone involved, it feels entirely appropriate to summarise this review by encouraging all those involved in this performance not to be afraid of their greatness, because as Shakespeare himself said, “..some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Photos (C) Mike Kwasniak

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