Newington College

Black Comedy lights up the stage

Black Comedy lights up the stage

The directors of Newington College’s first ever student-directed play admit their respect for their drama teachers has gone through the roof.

They are driving a cast from Newington, MLC School and Burwood Girls at break-neck pace toward a successful two-night run of the play Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer.

Opening night of the one-act farce is Friday 12 August, and its 11-member cast and crew are now deep in rehearsals.

The play – which centres on struggling sculptor Brindsley Miller and his fiancé, Carol, as they hold a party to impress Carol’s bombastic father and millionaire George Bamberger – transposes light and darkness. When the stage is lit, the characters are in darkness, and when the stage is dark the characters can see. So when a fuse blows, chaos erupts and all sorts of tricky secrets start to leak … well, it’s fair to say the audience might be more in the know than the characters.

But back to those drama teachers …

‘The time and effort needed to be put into a production is far greater than we thought,’ says co-director and Year 11 student Toby Eastway.

‘Our respect for them has certainly shot up, especially since they put on multiple, often longer plays a year.’

The boys admit they had a steep learning curve when they stepped up to direct Black Comedy.

‘The technical side of things is certainly a lot harder than it looks; finding the props, creating the stage, costuming and organisation,’ Toby says.

‘Experience has definitely been the best way for us to fill those gaps, and we just learn as we go.’

It helps that there’s a great atmosphere and plenty of fun on set (even if it occasionally needs to be reined in).

‘We think getting everyone in the cast to really enjoy the process and commit to the play is the best way to create a good production.

‘We don’t take things too seriously and we just try to create an enjoyable atmosphere for both the cast and the audience.’

Black Comedy will open at the Newington College’s Duckmanton Drama Theatre on Friday 12 August. A second performance will be held the next night, Saturday 13 August.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.

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