The following article is written by Joshua Karian (Year 9) who was invited to join the Year 11 and Year 13 students on a workshop with Punchdrunk on Friday 27th January at their purpose built village in London.
Punchdrunk has pioneered a game changing form of theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. Blending classic texts, physical performance, award-winning design installation and unexpected sites, the company's infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences. I was privileged to be one of three Year 9 students to attend a visit to Punchdrunk Theatre Company workshop located in London. They were operating in a warehouse that had been converted into a village, for performance practice. We worked in groups of three and were positioned around the village in the different buildings, including a church, a bar, an offlicence, an optician and many more. The surroundings helped us to be creative and innovative in our performance ideas. We were encouraged to use the space freely and we could even jump through windows and stand on desks. This allowed us to move freely without restraint, which is helpful in a drama workshop. For the first task, we created a sequence of movements that were to be combined into a visual routine.
I was surprised to find that working other students from different year groups that I barely knew was easier than I had expected. I learnt through this task to observe my group’s movements and to coordinate myself with them. I found that by starting with spontaneous movements it was easily developed into a sequence. Joshua Karian, Year 9
Bugsy Malone December 2014
On Wednesday 19th to Friday the 21st November, Herschel Grammar School performed a musical production called ‘Bugsy Malone’. It consisted of a talented cast which illuminated this musical that is unlike any other show ever made. Set in the 1920’s, New York City, Bugsy Malone captured a flashing essence of gangsters, showgirls, and dreamers. A battle for power between Fat Sam’s and Dandy Dan’s gang; innocent souls were forced to participate in a barbaric fight involving “splurge guns” supposed to real bullets. This covered the victim in cream which created a humorous atmosphere for the audience. The main school hall was transformed into an illegal speakeasy bar serving cocktails. Live music and dancing was presented by our gifted cast.
The play consisted of many outstanding props including a moving vehicle (1920’s car) which was driven around the hall. The commitment of the cast and teachers made this show possible to perform. Without the dedication of the cast and the hard work from all the directors and the tech team, this show would have been beyond the bounds of possibilities to actually run.
“I enjoyed this show very much! Though the rehearsals were slightly long towards the performing date, I can definitely say they were worth it! The cast and teachers were all so fun to be around and it was them that helped pull through this show!” Mehak Chandel
To make the production even better, we hired brilliant costumes such as pinstripe gangster suits and sparkly showgirl dresses. They matched the era perfectly and stood on par with the great acting. Furthermore, Nicole Stevens (Tallulah) made her costumes, so it was bespoke and well fitted. She used this as part of her Textiles GCSE Work. In addition to the cast’s hard work, they searched their homes to find costumes and props to fit the era and characters they were playing. They found various items of props and clothing that helped make the play more realistic and believable.
Also, along with the costumes, the play would need one key element. Splurge Guns. After looking at many Splurge Gun Hire websites, the technology department decided they could make much better guns themselves. The guns took many any hours to produce (roughly 30 hours per gun!) but looked really great in the end and worked brilliantly.
“The guns looked realistic, and seemed to be of amazing quality. And, everyone had great fun splurging not only each other but the audience too!” Sukhneel Jaspal
The 1920s era came alive with a cocktail bar, staged at the back of the hall. It offered drinks like ‘Tallulah’s Tickle’, ‘Bugsy on the Beach’, and the ‘Leena Morelli’.
“The drinks tasted really great. They were even dressed with cherries or lemons! It seemed like a real cocktail bar! My favourite was the Leena Morelli, because it looked like real wine but it tasted like lemonade!” The bar had working barmen, such as Jake Dawes (Joe the bar man), Mr Devereux, Mr Wilkins and Afkan (from the Languages Department). A lot of effort went into making the cocktails, as the ‘Staccatto Steamer’ which included homemade mulled apple juice!
As far as the staging went, the audience enjoyed a scene in the foyer which introduced some of the characters: Bugsy, Blousey, and Fizzy. To the audience’s surprise they entered what seemed to be an ordinary bookcase, which turned out to be a secret passageway to the Hall, now transformed into Fat Sam’s Speakeasy. The audience were greeted with singing and drinks before settling down on their tables, to enjoy the show.
Music played a big part in the show and was brought to life by our own live band! It consisted of some of our very own staff: Mr Piggott (Piano), Mr Torrent (Trumpet), Mr Noel (Guitar), Mr Smeath (Drums) and Byron (6th Form) was on the saxophone. They were loud and pitch perfect and really added to the ‘vibe’. They accompanied the singing well, and helped to lift the mood.
To conclude, we would like to thank those who took part and a special well done to the Cast of this year’s Bugsy Malone Performance and Good luck to all Shows in the future.
Other productions coming soon are to include an entrance into Maidenhead Drama Festival, Shakespeare Schools Festival 2015 where we are currently deciding on THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR set in the 1950’s or HAMLET in the style of Star Wars.
By Jake Dawes, Chantelle Canty, Jennifer Canali, Saba Ahmed, Kripa Shah.
On the 17th November 4 groups of 4-6 pupils were chosen from the whole of year 8 to open and to raise awareness for anti-bullying week at Godolphin Junior school. Each group had to perform at a different year group. The pupils previously prepared a piece that is suitable and would inform the children about anti-bullying. In our groups we performed in the style of Theatre in Education which encourages audience participation. Performing in this way allowed the audience to ask and answer questions. The use of asking questions helps to answer any queries about the performance which you normally cannot do. The questions would occur in the middle of the performance and also at the end. In our performances we used techniques like hot seating. We met in the hall at 12:05 and practised for a while and then made our journey to the school. After our walk to Godolphin, we met one of the teachers in the library were we were welcomed and then showed to the classrooms. We felt extremely welcomed and thought it was a fantastic opportunity and experience.
By Prathana Baliga (Year 8)
The Taming of the Shrew Workshop
Shakespeare Schools Festival is a unique arts-education charity running the UK’s biggest youth drama project. The charity inspire children of all backgrounds to challenge themselves through performing, giving the opportunity and support for school groups to perform abridged productions in their local professional theatre. In October 2014 Byron Jones, a Year 12 student directed and led a group of students in a 30 minute version of TAMING OF THE SHREW.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The performance ran from Tuesday 20 – Friday 23 May 2014 at 7pm. The show was a huge success. See videos below!!!
Sruthi Murthy, part of the ‘Cadbury’ cast, writes: From downright crazy behaviour to an increasing fantasy of chocolate, the school’s fantastic, astounding production of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory has been weeks of accumulated fun, as auditions and rushed rehearsals took place, while Mrs Callender ran around in panic, trying to piece the chocolatey jigsaw puzzle together!
The weeks went by in a flash, as many grew hysterical due to the fact that they were unsure of or under confident in their roles, but it all came together easily; all thanks to Mrs. Callender, the technicians and the make-up artists.
Counting down to the number of days until the performance on Wednesday 21 and Friday 23 May for the Cadbury Cast, a veil of anxiety fell over us; everyone began to feel nervous, however a small spark, an ignition, was present, lightening up the whole mood of the busy weeks leading to the important event.
The show today (Wednesday) has just been fantastic, in a nutshell! Backstage, as the jolly music began with its staccato rhythm, the four TV newsmen (myself included) were blatantly dancing to the melody, having the time of our life! Encountering absolutely no mistakes, except for the odd noise that was uttered backstage, the whole show ran smoothly without any silly disruptions or embarrassing moments. Furthermore, this lower school production has given every individual participating in the show an opportunity to communicate and learn about others, who seem to be just as equally silly as they themselves are!
Therefore, we worked well together, making Charlie and the Chocolate Factory possible.To be honest, I don’t think we’ve had many quitters during this production, suggesting that the whole cast has had a fantastic time, helping each other out during particular scenes, and in general just getting to know everyone through communication and positive attitudes. Finally, everyone has had a blast and if we were to go through this process again, I’d be the first one to audition. Why, you might ask? Well, all in all, the time spent with the others has created accumulated memories which will be with me for life. So, why wouldn’t anyone audition for a great play just like this again?
Voice and Confidence Workshop
At the end of June students were invited to attend a Voice and Confidence Workshop in the Drama Department. In this hour long workshop, students developed confidence through games and team building before working on a variety activities based upon the English Speaking and Listening Key Stage 3 criteria. Mrs Callender plans to offer more workshops targeting specific students in September. Speaking and Listening Workshops at Godolphin Junior School On Wednesday 11 June, Year 10 GCSE Drama students were invited to Godolphin Junior School to run practical speaking and listening workshops with the whole school in celebration of their new radio station. The Year 10s divided themselves into groups and ran sessions focussing specifically on 'Voice for Radio Plays' and 'Voice to Target an Audience'. “I found this day really entertaining and learned a lot about teaching young children. It was really fun to see them have so much energy and enthusiasm and the satisfaction from seeing their faces was reward enough. We taught Years 3 to 6 and it was interesting to see the change in talent and ability. Overall I would say this was a fantastic and successful trip that brought back memories of my own primary school days.” -Rohan Soni
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory London
On Tuesday 17 June, thirty Herschel students left school at 1.30pm and took a coach up to London to participate in a two hour theatre workshop with professional theatre company “Theatre Workout” at Pineapple Studios where students developed skills in communication within the workplace. They then went on to watch Sam Mendes’ version of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' but not before stopping off at Pizza Express for a leisurely three course meal. “The trip to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was extremely fun. We spent a few hours at a drama workshop, learning different techniques that will help us in acting, and it developed our confidence skills. We also had a meal at Pizza Express before going to see the show. The show was also enjoyable to watch and it was very exciting. Overall, I think this whole trip was great and we all had an amazing time!”- Mehak Chandel