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Oxford’s IB theatre students take to the stage

Last Monday our four second year IB Theatre students, engaged in perhaps one of the most daunting exams that they have experienced to date and performed their assessed, collaborative work; a piece of theatre which they wrote, directed, set designed and acted in entirely by themselves, in front of an audience and video camera to be sent off to the IB moderators.

Having only 2 months to create this wholly original artistic creation, the students have been dedicating much of their time to its production; not only having to come up with a plot and write the script, but also having to take into consideration how they wanted it lit, what sound effects to use, even which venue to perform in, not to mention learning their lines.

Based on Brecht’s system of Verfremdungseffekt, which is the idea of distancing the audience from the action on stage so that they do not become emotionally involved but are instead encouraged to be critical and reflective upon what they are seeing, the students incorporated his various techniques to great effect.

The play’s main motif was the seven deadly sins and how they can be in each of us, the focus being on the main character, a girl who suffered from depression and having lost everyone and everything, felt each deadly sin deeply.

The four drama students therefore had to play multiple characters, switching between the sins, emphasising the idea that they are all inherent in us. Their performance therefore encouraged the audience to contemplate such personality traits in themselves.

Another Brechtian technique which they used, was the idea that the actors and audience should be part of the one performance, and so the audience were included and subsequently became involved in the developments happening on stage. The actors did this by speaking directly to the audience, even coming into the crowd and physically touching them.

The performance ended with a huge round of applause and four very happy students and having managed to produce a seemingly smooth yet technically and intellectually demanding piece of stage work, no doubt their marks will reflect this and all the effort that they have put in to its creation.

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