Year 11 Drama students have been hard at work collaborating, creating and acting in a self-devised work with guest director Mr Anthony Skuse and playwright Mr Julian Larnach.
Other Rooms references Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, the spirit of which ran right through the devising process. The 21 students wrote and created all the raw material that was shaped into this innovative work.
At the start of the process Anthony and Julian called the project The Woman in the Room. ‘It was a working title that made it easier to talk and think about,’ said Anthony. ‘The woman in question stood in for all those women in dramatic and literary works who are underwritten and sidelined, such as [Hamlet‘s] Ophelia. Imagine how different that play might be from her perspective. As we worked the idea shifted and became a consideration of the woman in the frame and the one just outside it.’
Of the process, Anthony said: ‘Each week we gave the students a different provocation to respond to, encouraging them to write from the heart rather than the head. Because the students were writing from a somatic rather than an academic point of view, the work is impressionistic and associative. Despite the same starting points and process undertaken by both groups, the two works are vastly different—a reflection of the students as well as their dynamics in the room. Each lesson we would write or create then hear or witness the work created, entering a feedback loop of critique and creation, meaning that every exercise has added to the verbal and physical language.’
This has been a fantastic theatrical process for our Year 11 Drama students.