21st December 2020
Year 12 and 13 Drama students were thrilled to get the chance to return to the Seckford Theatre once again on Sunday 13th December 2020, for rehearsals of ‘A Monster Calls’, their upcoming new ensemble production.
The rehearsals mean such a lot for the students, who have had to learn to overcome the various challenges that COVID-19 has presented throughout the year: including having to rehearse in visors, and the impact of the second lockdown, which stopped weekend rehearsals, pushing ‘A Monster Calls’ back from its original performance date of November into 2021.
‘A Monster Calls’ is the story of a thirteen-year-old English boy, Conor, and his mother, who have been managing life without his father, who has since moved to America. But now, Conor’s Mum is very sick and not getting any better. His grandmother will not stop interfering and the children at school will not look him in the eye.
Then, one night, at seven minutes past midnight, Conor is awoken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It has come to tell Conor tales from when it went walking before; and, when it has finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.
Written by Patrick Hess and published in 2011, ‘A Monster Calls' became a bestseller with children and adults alike, with its dazzling insight into love, loss and healing, and garnered much critical acclaim.
Gemma Mayes, Head of Drama at Woodbridge School, explains:
“It is such an achievement to be able to attempt to put a show on in these exceptional times, and this is everything we would expect of our students here at Woodbridge: determined, focussed, committed, resilient. We are exceptionally proud of them all.
“We chose ‘A Monster Calls’ as a challenging ensemble piece, with a great mix of stylised physical sequences and challenging naturalistic interactions. For us, this production means community; it means a shared creative focus; it means creating something we know will bring joy to the school community.”
Tom, who plays Conor, says:
“We started the year not really knowing whether the show would take place due to COVID-19. However, we did manage to get it up and running, and rehearsals have been really fun. Conor is such an interesting character to play. He has many aspects to his personality and we see him in many different situations.
"The audience can expect a massive journey, which is quite emotional.”
Annie, who plays Grandma, says:
“The audience can expect a whirlwind of emotions - make sure that you bring some tissues! It will be sad, but it will be worth it.”
You can watch the video of the ‘A Monster Calls’ rehearsal, featuring interviews with some of the principal actors and Drama team, here: