This Wednesday saw the opening night of The Abbey’s inaugural Sixth Form play, ‘The House of Bernarda Alba’. Conceived as part of the Sixth Form’s enrichment programme, which aims to encourage learning in the broadest sense of the word, the play provided an opportunity for the girls to explore a text they may well not have had the chance to work with before. Dark, challenging and political, there is a style and sophistication to the language and a complexity to the narrative that requires a deep engagement from both actor and audience alike.
Having only been rehearsing since September, Director of Drama, Mr Martin, suggests that the performance be viewed as an ‘informal sharing of work’. The value of the exercise was to be found not in a polished end product, but rather in the very process itself, affording the girls a variety of benefits: the exploration of an unfamiliar play; a chance to stretch their own acting capabilities; the bravery it takes to share something before it is finished and ‘perfect’; and the opportunity to work as a group of sixth form actors on a difficult, challenging piece of modern theatre. Suffice it to say that the girls performed exceptionally, confidently grappling with complex ideas to deliver a captivating, emotionally-charged piece.