The plaudits must go to Head of Classics and Director of the play, Polly Caffrey, alongside all those who worked incredibly hard behind the scenes, whose eye for detail and originality went above and beyond, ensuring that the tradition of performing the play in its original language continued.
As an homage to Bradfield Greek Plays of the past, Polly ensured that the skene was decorated to look like a tomb complete with the inscription ‘Your Memorial, Euripides, will never die.’ This particular tomb was inspired by the iconic facade of a royal Macedonian tomb in the Archaeological Museum of Pella.
The same level of detail also went into the costume design. The long-sleeved tunics and chlamys worn by the Chorus were appropriate to the senior Thessalian citizens, while Apollo’s white and gold garments set him apart from earthly mortals. Thanatos, Death himself, was dressed in long sweeping garments, signifying his refined role of taking but a single soul rather than appearing as was tradition with his tunic kilted up to workman-like length to take souls away to the underworld.
Twenty pupils, many from the younger years, brought Polly’s vision to life, impressively learning lines in an entirely new language. They worked so hard over the first half of the year to deliver a stirring performance in the language, rhythms and music of Classical Greek, a superb achievement at any stage of their studies.
The senior pupils shone in their principal roles. Jack Connell’s (F) Pheres performed with conviction and intensity during his debate with Jack Kidson’s (F) Admetus who in turn showed artistic versatility to go from heated argument to harmonic duet alongside Cecilia Vaughan (K) in the titular role of Alcestis.
Thomas Butler (C) (Death) and Jack Blackburn (E) (Apollo) opened proceedings with a confident duologue while Maria Aleiinikova (I) (Therapaina), Matthew Keel (E) (Heracles) and George Leaver (H) (Butler) also delivered excellent monologues.
A talented Chorus, many of whom were in Faulkner’s and the Shell, supported them. Lottie Klafkowska, Katie Chambers, Lara Warren-Smith and Misho Gabunia gave distinguished vocal performances, displaying the benefits of the hard work put in by themselves and by the Music Department. The Chorus had worked tirelessly on the newly-composed sections of the play and excelled in the Kommos, presented as a portrait of despair and grief through the imaginative deployment of Phrygian and ancient Mixolydian “harmonai”, helping the audience understand Admetus’ full realisation of the extent of his loss.