Event Review: GCSE Devised Performances 2017
On Monday 6, Tuesday 7 and Thursday 9 March, Bede’s parents, pupils and teachers had the distinct pleasure of watching three original works starring, written and directed by this year’s crop of Upper Fifth GCSE Drama students.
The three ‘devised’ plays were staged as part of the group’s GCSE exam process, with 15 of the 19 children earning full marks and some startling plaudits from the AQA moderator who attended Tuesday’s performances.
One of the works, Refugee, was produced and performed by Grace Stannard, Firdest Karaca, Sean O’Gorman, Saskia Green, Darcy Bartlett and Connie Preston, the latter of whom also played her ukulele during the play.
The short and powerful piece, which explored the challenges faced by displaced peoples trapped in migrant camps, was emotionally challenging, imaginatively staged and described by the moderator as “clearly top band.”
In addition to her performance in Refugee, during which she performed both in English and Turkish, Bloomsbury House’s Firdest Karaca also delivered a special presentation to the moderator about her work as a make-up artist during last year’s whole school production of Into The Woods.
Firdest’s presentation earned 45 marks out of a possible 45 and was declared “inspirational” by the AQA representative, who subsequently requested a recording of the piece to use as an exemplar.
Thematically similar to Refugee, the deeply claustrophobic Boat starred Freddie Clemo, Alex Pendlebury-Bowe, Toby Sammarco, Jaz Wardle, Evie Horne and Isaac Drogba.
Featuring some powerful and effective mime work, the play saw a group of seaborne refugees battling changing ocean currents, the weather, and one another, with the audience invited to consider the moral conundrums faced by the group through startling moments of direct address.
Last but not least, and described as “beyond the marking criteria” by the moderator, Kozma Prelevic, Tom McGovern, Imogen Lock, Matthew Moloney, Archie Reid, Joachim Vestergaard, Theo Silk and Mitchell Pledge also staged their astonishing farce An Inspector Falls in Miles Studio 2.
A satirical take on a murder mystery dinner, the group’s play saw audience members invited to dine with the members of a profoundly dysfunctional family – including its not-so-recently departed matriarch.
With guests including a variety of detectives, from a psychic to a Holmesian sleuth to a 50’s-era hard-boiled private investigator, An Inspector Falls moved at a breakneck pace and saw its cast leveraging every last instrument in the comedy toolbox, from physical and prop comedy to dextrous verbal witticisms.
The moderator’s pronouncement that, “You would be happy with that at A Level,” alluded to the sheer quality of the piece, with its manic theatricality and astonishingly rapid joke rate exceeding what might be expected from a University-level Edinburgh Fringe show.
Bede’s Director of Drama Karen Lewis said of the three groups’ accomplishments, “I am so proud of the children, all of whom worked extremely hard and deserved their incredible results.
“They really went the extra mile, pushing themselves far beyond the constraints of the GCSE exam syllabus – as anyone who attended the performances would no doubt attest. Thanks of course must go to Mr Waring and Mrs Goldring for all of their work and support along the way.”