English and Drama: Upper Fifth Pupils Witness 'The Jungle'
The Jungle has been hailed as essential theatre for our times. On Wednesday 12 September, Upper Fifth English and Drama pupils were lucky enough to see the Playhouse Theatre’s immersive and poignant reminder of an issue which is sometimes in danger of being forgotten: the migrant crisis in Europe.
Even from the very outset, this is a production which blurs the line between theatre and real life, never once letting audiences believe that the stories which they see unfolding on stage are in any way fictional. It would almost be an understatement to say that pupils were stunned by what they saw: the immersive setting, which transformed the theatre into a bustling refugee camp; the skill of the actors, who brought the plight of migrants to life so convincingly; the overwhelming sadness and touching hope of the real human stories behind the drama on stage.
So many of our pupils described this as simply the best play they had ever seen. It seems fitting to hear their views on a unforgettable evening.
‘The Jungle was acted incredibly and the staging really helped us to feel the seriousness of the migrant crisis in human terms. Not only was the show completely captivating but it really helps you come to grips and realise this actually happens, and that we need to bring awareness to it.’
‘Usually, a show consists of actors creating a world for you, for a few hours of your life and coming out you think ‘back to reality’. With this play, that was simply impossible. The contrast between the world on stage and the streets outside is almost obscene.’
‘Having experienced the topic of refugees before, the experience provided by watching and interacting with the actors was rather emotional for me. One thought struck me urgently: that we, the next generation, should do more to help these people. The trauma of the play brings that home to us all.’
‘This was hands down the best play I have ever seen. It was a moving portrayal of the Calais jungle. The power of the play lay in the fact that it retained the humanity of the refugees; they were fleeting and endured horrors, but they were still people, with joy and hope as well as pain.’
‘It offered a perfect equilibrium between comedy and emotion. One of the best plays I have ever seen. Up close, we witnessed every facial expression, every sigh and every laugh. It really conveyed the stress, anxiety and hope the refugees are facing.’
‘The moment we stepped into the room we were transported. The fairly traditional space had been transformed with chipboard and posters, and the seating truly made you feel engrossed in the show itself. The combination of incredible acting, clever direction, and harrowing true stories provoked me, and a fair few others, into regular bouts of unreserved tears, while the personal realisation made us completely and somewhat cruelly aware of our privilege. I left the theatre inspired, ashamed, and astonished at the blatant lies of governments and the manipulations of the media. Most importantly, The Jungle inspires change, and shines new light on a story somewhat forgotten by the world. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.’
Nathan de Silva