It’s Mrs Bennet, Jim

But not as we know her.

Yesterday saw the performances which finished off the cultural activities week. It turned out that the only classes involved in that were ours and the ones in the A-level programme. The programme varied between speeches and dramatic performances, which was a little unfair on the speeches because they were never likely to attract higher marks. (We were informed on our score sheets that the marks couldn’t be below 80; in other words, we were really marking them out of 20.) The performances included Pride and Prejudice performed by Class 5 in which Victoria played Mrs Bennet as a kind of coquette. It wouldn’t have surprised me if it’d been set on a plantation in the Deep South of the US; and if Victoria has suddenly said, “Lawks a mercy, sir!” I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid.1

Other dramatic performances included Snow White and the Beast (a merger of the two fairy tales); Cinderella by Class 7 (who never actually asked for time to practise); and the tale about the mermaid who wants to be a real girl, but finds the prince is a bastard.2

This year I managed to get English Corner generally advertised, but it was hampered by being advertised with particular topics instead of being an opportunity for pupils to practise their English with a native speaker or ask questions about the language. With regard to the performances, they need to be divided into speech and drama sections for the purposes of judging them.

As far as I recall, this year’s efforts were more entertaining than last year’s. There were also some moments of unintentional comedy such as microphone cords which didn’t extend far enough across the stage. In fact, sound was a big problem because it seems that no one had considered how they were going to be heard without some sort of amplification, and why background music and sound effects should stay in the background.

1. Now I’m hearing Mr Darcy say, “Why, Miss Elizabeth, you sho’ is lookin’ mighty fine today.”
2. The mermaid princess in question obviously thought I was a bastard for not letting her go off and practise instead of making her sit the Progress Test on Thursday because of some of the answers she wrote in the test, and the huffy way in which she handed it in. She needs to be reminded of her duties and obligations as a school girl, which don’t include deciding not to have a test in favour of taking part in extracurricular activities.


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