the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress
Vivid reimagining of Coriolanus
06 October 2017
On Monday this week, English students in the Sixth Form enjoyed a performance of Coriolanus at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Student Gaia Wales reviews the trip….
We agreed to meet at 4:15pm to board the coach, so naturally I showed up at 4:20pm and we finally set off. With Mr Wilkins as our General and Mrs Harrison as his Lieutenant, we were sure we would arrive in plenty of time.
The ride was punctuated by some rather jarring road bumps that we imagined felt like a bronco in the gladiator arenas of Rome. Just as dusk started to creep in we arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon and we soon found the perfect car park, tucked out of the way.
We were all eager to get food before the show and bustled into the town. While most spurned the famous chip shop Barnaby’s in favour of McDonalds and the RSC’s own café, the teachers took to it and allowed us to explore in groups.
Before we knew it we were hurrying up to the top floor to find our seats, the room electric with excitement. The stage was set when we entered, three palettes were laid out with bags of corn on them and behind them was a bright orange fork lift. Many of us were thrilled that this rendition of Coriolanus would be a modern retake and we eagerly took our seats.
The play was beautiful and everyone marvelled at Sope Dirisu as Coriolanus. While some of us were jarred by the play, and sometimes found the political undercurrents a little tough to follow, by the end we were all bubbling about what we had seen. With the traditional ‘Roman’ abandoned we were delighted to see the common people in jeans and hoodies, with the lead actor in a black suit and tie or in a heavy looking war uniform. Needless to say we were all startled when the lead lifted the corrugated doors of the stage drenched in blood, calling for his comrades to raid the city.
It was a breath-taking performance by the actors that left us feeling energized by the end. Despite the incident where we were asked to wait patiently for the prop fire-escape stairs to be moved as they were stuck tight, we enjoyed the trip immensely. The drive home was full of chatter about what we had seen and some guesses as to what would happen after the play. We were, however, all assured in the knowledge we would get home safely with Mr Wilkins captaining once more and getting us all safely back to school by 11:15pm.
The RSC was a delight to visit and as usual Shakespeare did not disappoint and neither did our teachers.