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Twelfth Night and Macbeth

On Tuesday evening, it was all about the Bard, with Year 11 Drama students performing scenes from two of his most compelling plays.

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Here is what Greta (Year 11) had to say about Twelfth Night:

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“Mr Colyer’s class performed some chosen scenes from Shakespeare’s outrageous comedy Twelfth Night, which included everything from shipwrecks to gender swapping to shoving people in dark houses.

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Twelfth Night is based on the celebration of the Twelfth Night of Christmas, which was a large celebration during the context Shakespeare wrote in. It was a large party, where society became senseless for a day - masters swapped places with servants, people dressed and acted foolishly, and swapped genders.

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With this celebration in mind, we decided to focus on, and highlight, the themes of topsy-turvy and gender. We chose to set our play in the 1980s, which we felt encapsulated the gender ambiguous, wild and crazy ideas displayed in Twelfth Night.

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Our costumes and makeup took inspiration from iconic 80s figures such as Cindy Lauper and Adam Ant, with crazy wigs, colourful makeup and funky costumes. Music was a large theme in our piece, as music is mentioned often in the play, and also was an iconic trademark of the 80s.

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We opened with Without You by Maria Carey, and drew from other classics from artists such as Cindy Lauper and Right Said Fred.

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We drew from stock characters and made animated, eccentric character choices to highlight the bizarre nature of the play. Along with our fab lighting scheme of purples, oranges and greens, our crazy costumes, marvellous makeup, and integration of classic 80s’ hits, our rendition of Twelfth Night was half an hour of fun, hilarity, and eccentrics.

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And here is ‘that Scottish play’, according to Olivia (Year 11):

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“Miss Crittle’s class performed a condensed version of Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy Macbeth, depicting a Thane who is overruled by a combination of his fiery ambition and by the enigmatic prophecies of three witches.

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Our directorial interpretation of the play focused on the theme of supernatural and how the three witches’ prophecies manipulated Macbeth’s desires into becoming a reality.

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We achieved this through strategically placing the witches on the stage in certain parts of the play to highlight their role in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s activities.

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This was represented in our performance through placing the witches behind a scrim in Lady Macbeth’s famous ‘unsex me here’ speech in Act 1, Scene 5.

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The effect of this was to provoke a sense of supernatural spirit that allowed the audience to draw a connection to the importance of the witches throughout the play.

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As a class, we spent nine weeks rehearsing the play, both in and out of class time. It was hard work learning how to keep the audience captivated, whilst speaking in the Shakespearian language.

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However, being able to perform together as a class in front of an audience, all wearing amazing costumes was truly an incredible experience.

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