Drama Production: Five Kinds of Silence

London A59

In December, the Autumn Term ended for the drama department with a moving and powerfully emotive performance at the Drayton Arms theatre. The GCSE Drama group prepared for the performance over several weeks leading up to the show and had undertaken extra rehearsals at weekends. The cast of six certainly did not disappoint the audience of parents, friends and teachers.

Five Kinds of Silence by Shelagh Stephenson was first published in 2004, as part of the subversive ‘in-yer-face’ theatre movement and tells the story of a family living with a vicious and controlling father. The cast were not intimidated by the serious subject matter of the piece. On the contrary, the students performed with maturity and dedication, creating the tense and unsettling atmosphere of the family household brilliantly. Lawrence Hughes convincingly played the abusive and sinister father character named ‘Billy’ by utilising a powerful stage presence and menacing vocal tone. Theo Payne conveyed the role of ‘younger Billy’, realistically portraying the violence which the character had been subjected to as a child through his vulnerable characterisation. The reactions of the three actresses of the piece helped to convey the fear and oppression within the household. When you consider that this play is based on true events, it seems even more harrowing. It was a huge achievement for the entire cast to present such a mature piece in such a professional way. Their commitment to the emotion of the play cannot be faulted. The play also contained many sophisticated theatrical techniques which are often used by students at A-Level, such as developed monologues and cross-cutting. The audience were totally stunned by the standard of the performance and couldn’t believe what had been done in such a short space of time. The group have gained so much confidence by performing Five Kinds of Silence and will be performing their final examination pieces in March for an external examiner. 

Lucy Bellingham