Sometimes adversity offers opportunity. In most normal years at Fettes, Drama plays an integral part in school life and the school production, whether it is a play or a musical, is one of the highlights of the year. So, in a pandemic world where live theatre to a non-virtual audience is not possible, where the physical space of the Fettes Theatre has been repurposed as a socially distant staff room and where you lose a term of rehearsal to another round of lockdown, how to make the show go on?
The constraints of the pandemic world required creativity and we are incredibly lucky to have found a way to offer our students an experience they would otherwise not have had. As we had always planned to perform Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, we had a good foundation to develop an alternative production: the starting script was already ‘pretty decent’ and Shakespeare is endlessly adaptable. Equally, we are fortunate in having good friends at Daysix digital agency, who regularly work with the school to produce promotional film material, and were more than happy to engage in a more artistic project.
So, having reconfigured some elements of the story and some dialogue, we have been excited this term to start shooting on Fettes College’s own film version of Much Ado About Nothing. We have updated the play to set it in ‘Messina College’, a modern boarding school, in which Shakespeare’s tale of love, intrigue, misperception and comedy finds powerful parallels.
We are currently halfway through the film shoot and it has been a hugely worthwhile, if demanding, experience for cast and crew, who have adapted brilliantly to a different style of screen acting and have learnt rapidly about the process of filming. We are so fortunate to have a professional film team from Daysix to work with, whose involvement has made this whole project possible and who have given our students a taste of a totally different Drama experience. With the film shoot due to complete soon, we are looking forward to the world premiere of the completed film at the end of term.
- Mr Jenkins, Fettes English Teacher and Co-Director