Shakespeare wrote that all the world was a stage – but for 11 students of HSC Drama at The Armidale School, the stage of the TAS Hoskins Centre was their world for the annual Curtain Up showcase of individual and group projects on 2 August.
Whilst the three group projects were devised by the three groups of performers, the individual projects were as varied as the students themselves. Jacob Hunt’s video drama Shell Shock explored mental illness; Jock Campbell devised a lighting plan for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while Dennis Pitt satirised his Aboriginal heritage with an excerpt from ABCTV’s Black Comedy called Blackforce: Special Coconut Unit.
Freya Bartlett portrayed a war widow farewelling her long-deceased husband in David Hampshire’s Visiting Frank; Renee Collins mesmerised the audience with her rendition of a clinically insane woman in Dinner with Marsha from The King of Comedy; Andrew Knight was a moving Faustus in a scene from Christopher Marlowe’s play of the same name, and Jessica Tan performed an excerpt from another classic, Lady Windemere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde.
Sara Perry captivated the audience as an eccentric homeless woman in The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner; student Emily Seaman’s original work script Better was read by three younger students; Olivia Adams confronted the restriction of girls’ uniforms in Claire Dowie’s Why is John Lennon wearing a Skirt?, and Dominic Pilon wrapped up the evening as a football hooligan from Dog by steven Berkoff.
Teacher Andrew O’Connell said the performances exceeded his expectations as the students astounded the audience with their confidence, stage presence and energy.”
“They gave every moment, joke, character or transformation their absolute focus and played to the audience with a true understanding of what theatre is designed to do – to shock, to force reflection, to provide catharsis, to warn, or simply to divert from the worries and woes of the world for a brief moment,” he said. “It is truly a privilege and pleasure to be their teacher.”
Performed in front of a capacity audience, the works will continue to be refined before assessment for the HSC.