A Necessary Woman – ‘No Vote, no Census’

Big Slider A necessary woman Poster image front

By Ollie van Hoeken, Bedales student

After teaching us about the context of the characters and events in the play in Jaw, Deborah Clair and Philippa Urquhart headed over to the theatre to prepare for their touring show.

The plot of the play is how Emily Davidson and ‘necessary woman’ Mary meet in the cleaning cupboard, and discuss their views of the suffragettes. Emily Davidson, a historical suffragette famously threw herself under the King’s horse for the right of women to vote. The character of Emily has come to disrupt the House of Commons meeting after the 1911 census.

The minimalist set created an intimate atmosphere and the use of recorded voice and sound of bells and the master, made the scenes focussed. With clear temporal shifts, the characters’ stories unfold; the audience can realise the irrelevance of class and age in an unlikely friendship. In this play Emily plans to address the House of Commons, however in 1911 she failed and this play gave the audience a rare chance to hear her voice.

Through the character of Mary, we see what life was like for women in the lower classes. She considered it lucky to keep her job after having given up her baby for adoption, this moment of saddening confession provided clear juxtaposition from Emily’s speeches of power. Mary made it clear that this was not uncommon for women of the time. By the end of the evening the audience took away a clear message: women have fought for the right to be equal and society has made huge leaps but there’s still a long way to go. This topic is still relevant today, but shown in a historical setting we see the similarities in prejudice.

Scripted and devised: theatre at its best

Bedales Theatre 22nd April 2018 Web Res-5335 (Large)

By Meg Allin, 6.1

On Tuesday and Wednesday the 6.2s performed their devised pieces. Often when people enter the Bedales Theatre they see plays with many possible interpretations, which are usually hard-hitting, and these plays were no exception. To start we walked to the lake and saw two ‘women of the lake’ attack, seduce and murder a Vicar fisherman.  It included a lot of deeply rooted sounds and voices that no average actor could conjure up. The real fire, hellish music, bleeding heart and misty lake made for an atmospheric piece.

Next, back in theatre, a funny but truthful portrayal of gender inequality and double standards, featuring a lot of modern pop culture references such as Trump, Harvey Weinstein and Jimmy Savile which made the comedy more shocking; a moment that struck me was strong modern women being objectified as “bossy” and men as “tough”.  This contrast raised a lot of questions among the audience about the play’s message.

A homely set was then constructed with a sofa, lamp and beanbag, following an emotional and physically meticulous piece made for a detailed telling of two lovers and their journey of nostalgia and “gut love”; this saddening but captivating piece showed us love in its most pure state, the internal world of the two men was complex and yet beautifully portrayed.

The penultimate piece featured three women in wedding dresses exploring ways that people and society handles sexual assault and rape, done with sensitivity and poise.  The three pulled off a clear, montage style piece including how to keep you ‘safe’ in a car park or on a flight.

To finish off the night, a group of butterflies graced us with singing, cling film and berries, the childish aspects ironically calmed the madness of the piece. The three created scenarios that depicted stages of a woman’s cycle, while integrating an interesting butterfly metaphor throughout. On top of all this the 6.2s have also been performing their scripted pieces, which they performed on Tuesday. A very impressive display of skill and innovation, anyone who didn’t see these plays really missed out on something special. View photos

 

Bedales dancers explore ghostly movement and experience Hofesh first-hand

By Maud Bonham-Carter, 6.2

Ghost Dance - RambertLast Tuesday, all Dance students from Block 4 to 6.2 were lucky enough to watch three professional works by Rambert Dance Company at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. The evening consisted of three pieces of works by different choreographers. In Transfigured Night, by Kim Brandstrup, two lovers meet by moonlight, and a dark secret threaten to tear them apart. Ghost Dances by Christopher Bruce, was one of the highlights for a lot of the students as we are studying this piece at A level – so seeing it live really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the piece due to the knowledge we already had about the piece. The last piece, A Linha Curva by Itzik Galili, is Rambert’s party piece, the use of lighting helped to convey their strong and upbeat performance with Samba-fuelled movement that really grasped the audience’s attention from start to finish.

Hofesh Shechter Workshop 

Hofesh photo.
By Mila Fernandez 6.1

Last week dancers throughout the Blocks and Sixth Form had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a dance workshop. This workshop was led by Chien-Ming Chang and Mickael Frappat from the Hofesh Shechter Company. Hofesh is a very famous Israeli choreographer who created his own style of contemporary dance. Now based in Brighton with his own company, Hofesh created many shows that have toured around Europe. Through his very defined style, Hofesh aims to awake the audience by making them experience his work from the gut. His themes explore issues such as how powerful we can be as individuals, political issues, tensions in society and our need to break free from society in order to find freedom. This makes his work feel very topical and relevant to our modern society.

In the workshop we were led into many improvisations using the bases of the Hofesh style. We explored the way our bodies could move through different rhythms whilst staying completely relaxed and ourselves. It was a great way to discover new material and we were able to create spontaneously. Later, we learnt a bit of repertoire from the piece Grand Finale. Hofesh’s choreography was very challenging as he makes dancers go from states of complete relaxations to very tense and shaky movements. This is what makes his work so original and truthful. We finished with a couple of questions we had prepared for our teachers. We learnt a lot from the dancer’s past training and experience working with Hofesh and his style. This was a very inspiring experience, which taught us a lot about Hofesh’s style and ourselves as dancers.

View the Grand Finale trailer below

BFI award for Block 4

By Ernie Allesch-Taylor, Block 4

My love of filming started with an app called Video Star. When I was 6 years old, it was the coolest thing to have, so I used to record endless amounts of video. Then I got interested in the editing side using a software called IMovie. When I started at Dunhurst I came to realise acting and being on camera wasn’t my thing – what I really enjoyed was script writing and sharing my thoughts and ideas through my own stories. In Dunhurst we had school productions and everyone got involved. I did it for a year or two but didn’t like being on stage that much. Before I left Dunhurst Simon Kingsley-Pallant said I could help with the stage crew, so from then on I helped with costumes and lighting.

I started researching courses I could get involved in to widen my knowledge and came across the Young Film Academy. I found out they were going to start hosting a two-week film course at St Catherine’s, Bramley and this really appealed to me. Last year I went for one week and managed to win an award held at the British Film Institute (BFI) you can watch that film below.  This summer, I took the two-week course and I learnt a lot more (as well as winning another BFI award) – my interest has turned into something I want to do for the rest of my life. While I was at St Catherine’s I got told the film I made last year was going to feature at the Berlin Film Festival and that I would go to Berlin on the 21 September. I am so excited as I will meet lots of keen film makers and watch other films to give me new ideas.

I guess my overall ambition is to win an Oscar – if only so I can invite Simon K-P to the awards ceremony because I’ve been promising him since I was about ten years old! Bedales have really helped me, giving me ideas for films and better opportunities to get involved with what I love to do. The LAMDA programme has also taught me how to engage with the actors even if I’m not keen on acting myself.

But is it Art?

By Saul Barrett, 6.2

Yasmina Reza’s Art at the Old Vic presents us with three friends brought together and ultimately torn apart by one friend, Serge, and his costly purchase of a completely white painting.

As an originally lofty disagreement spirals into a malicious attack on one another, Matthew Warchus’ production astutely observes and satirises the way we talk about art. Reza is known for taking middle class and polite individuals and stripping them of all inhibition or kindness as their world comes crumbling around them. We see this in Rufus Sewell’s pretentious and stern character of Serge who is lambasted by the older traditionalist, Mark, while Tim Key’s fantastically vulnerable peacemaker Yvan is repeatedly made the punch-bag upon which they direct their frustrations, along with being denounced as ‘uncultured’.

Tall white walls evoke the sparse elegance of the Parisian setting while three chairs around a coffee table function as the domestic boxing ring around which the trio hurl their long-held resentment towards one another. Along with the well-choreographed dance between niceties and menace of the three actors the real triumph of the evening is Reza’s script which finds humour and sadness while making intriguing statements about art as well as using the subject as a vehicle for exorcising the anxieties and grievances of middle aged friends.

Top theatre practitioner encourages Block 5

Photo by Jack Offord

By Joe Siddle, Block 5

Last weekend Block 5 drama students were lucky enough to be visited by a well-established practitioner, Sarah Butcher, who has worked at the top theatres in the UK. Sarah came in for the weekend and advised and polished the Block 5 BAC scripted performances of Red Shoes directed by Jenni Brittain and 100 directed by Hayley Ager.

Photo by Jack OffordSarah is a co-founding director of the theatre company Non Zero One. She is one of five exceptional artists that make up Non Zero On’ who were formed in 2009 at Royal Holloway University. Non Zero One focus on interaction, conversation and audience participation by looking at relationships between people. Their work explores how relationships can be made and broken.

The company is also interested in the creative application of technology in performance; using live video, projection, hidden cameras, MP3 players, radio frequency headphones, live sound mixing and the Internet. The group makes work for theatres, gallery spaces and museums, with audience participation as a focus.

Sarah helped both BAC classes with blocking, adding soundscapes, and just generally helping to balance out the stage space and making sure that our key moments looked absolutely perfect.

It was an absolute pleasure to work with such a talented practitioner. A massive thank you to Joanne Greenwood, Jennie Brittain and Hayley Ager for a well-structured hard-working weekend and for bringing in Sarah to help take our work to next level.

An evening at Christie’s inspires

On Tuesday 3 November Christie’s Auction House, in South Kensington, opened their doors at 6pm for their highly anticipated ‘Christie’s Lates’, a regular occasion which opens late on the first Tuesday of every month. Anyone can drop in to Christie’s at 85 Old Brompton Road, between 6.00pm and 8.30pm for a post-work drink and to hear inspirational talks from the masters of the trade.

On this particular evening, they hosted a conversation between Joanna Hardy, Old Bedalian and independent fine jewellery specialist, author and expert on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, and Shaun Leane, Britain’s most innovative jewellery designer who worked closely with the late Alexander McQueen.

Between the two, the discussion touched on an array of topics; it was inspiring listening to Shaun talk about his early career and his great achievements, one of which included creating a one-of-a kind necklace commissioned by Boucheron. This unique and inspiring piece of jewellery was to commemorate its 150th anniversary.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and would highly recommend ‘Christie’s Lates’ to anyone in town that seeks to hear amazing speakers at a wonderful venue which leaves you inspired and stimulated.

By Scott Emerson, 6.1