Although it may have been a complete shock for the entire country to be sent into lockdown after Jacinda Ardern’s announcement on the 23rd of March, it also had a significant impact on the Drama Department at Carmel College. Our Year 13 Drama class was fully immersed in preparing for our live performance of Ophelia Thinks Harder by Jean Betts from the very beginning of Term 1 and when our rehearsals reached a sudden standstill with the global covid-19 situation, it was disappointing to say the least, because suddenly it looked like there might be no Year 13 production at all. In spite of this, however, we all remained hopeful throughout the duration of lockdown, with Mr Middleton wisely informing us that ‘the show must go on’ no matter what. Therefore, in order to continue with the Drama curriculum, lockdown saw us all embark instead, on writing our murder mystery scripts; an achievement standard that was due to be completed after our show. Additionally, we organised a few online cast run-throughs to keep our lines for the play fresh, and ultimately ensuring that we weren’t substantially affected by the period of time away from school and rehearsals.
The moment that New Zealand entered alert level 3 on the 14th of May, our Year 13 Drama class commenced rehearsals once again. Despite the eight week break meaning that we were all a little out of practice, we were lucky enough to be one of the few New Zealand schools continuing with this achievement standard, and therefore, we were all determined and committed to put in the extra effort to be ready to perform in the last week of Term 2.
Staging Ophelia Thinks Harder certainly had its challenges, particularly when we essentially put it all together in a matter of six weeks, however, none of us would change it for the world, as it simply made our last school show all the more memorable. Of course, without Mr Middleton’s unending support and involvement, we would never have been able to have our final Year 13 performance, and for that, we are all so forever grateful.
There is no doubt that this strong feminist play was a true pleasure and honour to be involved in, and luckily enough for our Year 13 Drama cohort, Term 3 will also mean the opportunity to examine and perform in excerpts from Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, another powerful feminist playwright’s work.
A very special thank you to Steve Maloney for his wonderful work on our extraordinary Christmas set, to the Year 12 and 13 students who performed minor roles, the Faith Cafe volunteers who worked magnificently at our interval and before the show and to the spectacular English Department for all of the additional hours that they spent at school during rehearsal and show week. To everyone who was involved in the performance, or came to watch, we are all so appreciative of the support that we received and genuinely feel blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in this play which we all hold so closely to our hearts.
Charlotte Regtien, Year 13 Drama Student