We’re into the second week of student performances at Guildford School of Acting! These shows are all performed by final year BA, MA, or MFA students; in collaboration with BA Theatre Production and MA Stage & Production Management students.
So let’s see what performances are on this season!
Last week, I watched ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ performed by BA Actor-Musician final year students. The musical is about an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, the tweens spell their way through a series of words hoping to never hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.
I thoroughly enjoyed the audience participation and playful elements of the performance. It is amazing to see how instrumental playing is incorporated into the action alongside dancing and singing!
Another performance I went to is ‘Away’ by BA Acting final year students. It is a classic of Australian theatre, set in the summer of 1967-68. Following a high school performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, three suburban families embark on three very different holidays. But what begins as a summer ritual ends in a bittersweet transformation.
The play, although used a simple and modern set design, is filled with a vibrant plot and well-designed movement sequences.
Some other performances occurring over the next 3 weeks include:
Coram Boy: A tale of orphans, angels, murder and music – dramatised from the Whitbread Award-winning novel set in 18th-century England. Otis Gardner preys on unmarried mothers, promising to take their babies to Thomas Coram’s hospital for foundling children- but a much worse fate awaits them.
Velveteen Daughter: Based on a remarkable true story, this beautiful new musical explores the complex public and personal relationship between the two women and their wider public. This world premiere has been developed through workshops with the students and writers.
Company: From musical theatre’s most renowned composer Stephen Sondheim, Company is largely regarded as a trailblazer of the dark-comedy, modern-musical genre and the winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Lyrics and Best Book.
Waiting for the End of the World: This is a black comedy about a bunch of rich people riding out the impending end of the world in a luxury disaster compound. Stylistically, it’s somewhere between commedia dell’arte and Quentin Tarantino. In the tension of confinement, everyone starts falling out and it turns very ugly, but in a laugh-out-loud funny way.
Applause – The Musical: This updated musical version of “All About Eve” concerns superstar Margo Channing and her ambitious, scheming assistant, Eve Harrington. A tale of treachery, told in terms of the witty, glamorous theatre star and the mousy, adoring girl from the sticks who ingratiates herself into the star’s private world and then systematically attempts to take over her career, her lover, and her life.