‘A mesmerising yet chilling pupil directed performance’
William Golding’s dystopian novel Lord of the Flies presents the reader with a terrifying thesis on social behaviour. The book shows how a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island without rules will quickly revert to savagery. But is this gender specific?
Last week at Oundle’s Stahl Theatre, this social experiment was skillfully reimagined by pupil director Hetty Hodgson (17) and her all female cast. Instead of boys blowing the conch and trying to arrange meetings, it was girls.
Oundle’s Theatre Director, Naomi Jones commented, “Through Hetty’s excellent direction and the compelling performances of Catie Gilchrist (17) as Jackie (Jack) and Susanna Gillespie (17) as Rosie (Ralph), the production drew the chilling conclusion that the moral degeneration of children, when left to their own devices, was not in fact a boy thing but a sublimated element of the human condition.”
The cast was strong throughout, with key performances also from Cazzie Winterton (17) as Rachel and Minna Coke (16) as the golden hearted Piggy.
Hetty commented, “The experience of directing a House play with such a talented cast has undoubtedly been the best experience I have had at Oundle; something I have wanted to do since Third Form (Year 9) and the process of which started well over a year ago. I chose to direct an all-female cast of Lord of the Flies as I believe what happens on the island is not gender specific, and I hope that we managed to convince our audiences accordingly.”
Naomi concluded, “Watching brutality dominate as Jackie and her camp’s pragmatic, morality began to unravel made for a truly mesmerising yet chilling evening in the theatre.”
Background Information on Oundle School
Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.
The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development project which will see a new Mathematics department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. A concurrent Sports MasterPlan will upgrade sporting facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st XI cricket pavilion which opened in April 2015 and new astroturfs due to be completed this year.
There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.