Drama and The Merchant of Venice

23rd October 2019
BY Carson White

There are two ways to rehearse for a play; either you have a long period, with sporadic rehearsals and people slowly learning their lines, or you can blast out a play, rehearsing every evening and weekend for about five weeks. The second way is a slightly terrifying experience but the one I’m more familiar with at Winchester. You never really know how the play will turn out and the sense and meaning of it fall into place in the final week. You end up living and breathing your character; you can’t stop pondering your character’s motivations or the best way to block a scene, during lunch, on you way to lessons, or even in your dreams.

To do all of this with a full-length Shakespeare play was even crazier than normal. But truly, The Merchant of Venice, was a wonderful experience, made so much easier and more fun by the amazing staff who help us. Mr Baddeley and Mr Dakin guided us through all the difficulties of the language, Mrs Kight and Mrs Webster made us look very dapper in our costumes and makeup, and the backstage team made sure nothing went wrong. Without them we’d flounder. The hard work is always worth it - taking that final bow on the last night, you feel you’ve really achieved something, knowing the production is of a really high standard.

The most wonderful thing about doing theatre here is the camaraderie that exists between the actors. This amazing atmosphere encourages pupils to do play after play, to sign up for the LAMDA program here, to do the monologue showcases, to direct their own plays, and to do make-up or tech. Drama can be a huge commitment but the rewards, both throughout the process and seeing the final performance, are immense.

Related Stories