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The School Play

All schools 'do' plays, and in the 50's plays seemed to replace dramatic musicals under Ernie Harries in the 30's
20 Feb 2017
"She Stoops to Conquer"
"She Stoops to Conquer"
In the 50's plays emanated from the Phoenix Society, who had read, and then proposed what we should have, and, in theory, proceeded to put together the presentation.

Tame affairs by comparison to G+S., with 'Worm's Eye View', 'The Housemaster', 'Men in Shadow', 'Playbill' and 'The Importance of Being Ernest', where the staff, too, joined the cast, and the sight of Jumbo Armstrong, bounding, indeed 'rollicking' across the stage, Ian McClintock, and Geoff Hern and Dido Stephens aiding abetting affairs, with odd clinches, thrown in, were obvious distractions and made it questionable whether or not this was a 'school' play.
I had myself seen little of front of stage, being limited to some curious (non-speaking part) rabbit in Midsummer Night's Dream and a number of must-show-the-pupil-off, piano party-pieces, so it was no surprise not get a 'call-up' until middle school. Frank Clewley, my English master, who had produced The Housemaster in the previous year, took up the reigns again, and I colluded to help out. I had then become quite confident and immersed in English writing, but saw myself hopeless as an actor.

This confirmed, I was proposed as 'prompt'. Nevertheless, I thought, one foot on the ladder! Needless to say, the cast was of far superior quality, and surpassed any of my acting abilities. So, hidden from view, and, yes, I did have to prompt once or twice, I took a seat in the wings, and by the end of term I knew the plays backwards. One little bonus was that I could creep into 'prep' late -  proud to have 'been involved'. The Importance of Being Ernest was a great play. Thank you, Mr Wilde.

Frank, who had gained a reputation by then of being quite a 'free' or 'radical' thinker, put the icing on the cake, and invited the cast, stage hands and I to 'final curtain' celebrations at his house........a very relaxed smoking and drinking session it turned out to be!
Happy memories.
David Lawton (51-58F)

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