With so much of the world being different for students everywhere, it has been difficult for schools to offer all the same opportunities they might have enjoyed in pre-Covid times. Mary Hare students have always had an enriching experience taking part in the Coram Shakespeare Schools Festival, which usually culminates in a public performance shared with two or three other schools, in a local theatre.
Naturally, with things as they are, this year has had to be very different, with the Festival announcing their One Night of Shakespeare instead to replace the live events. Still keen to take part, we had to consider how best to embrace the potential of film, while also working within bubbles, social distancing, ventilation, and lack of support from theatre technical staff.
We were delighted in the resilience of the students to respond to the changing guidelines and recommendations throughout the process. This led to an exciting and unusual interpretation of Othello. We had always intended to perform this play but with the initial uncertainty surrounding how it might be possible to stage or film, this meant that we started looking at how it could be broken down into monologues. Of course, in this tragic play, so many years ahead of its time, the majority of the narrative is manipulated by the villain Iago, who takes great pleasure in revealing everything to the other characters and the audience.
This is what took us to, Iago's Othello, in which our Year 11 students performed many of the facets of the "false-friend" who frames, cajoles and coerces the characters to bring about the end of Othello and Cassio.
Well done to all those who took part.