If it had not been for the fact that I was in Speyside High’s auditorium waiting to see the latest school play then a lead character called Jack would not have meant anything to me, or the audience seated around me.
After a year’s break, the students were back with one of their most controversial plays yet called ‘Down the Line’; I was pleased to see that the year out had not affected the motivation, energy and unexplained ‘traditions’ the school bring to the stage year after year.
Down the Line was performed by a range of second to sixth years last Thursday and Friday. A futuristic play featuring iPhone 12’s and an independent Scotland which had me laughing from my seat from start to finish – without losing the underlying themes of course; politics, education and the economy.
An unusual take on the future being just like today – but worse – following four characters Jack Robertson (Andrew Simpson), Jane Banks (Leah Christie), Olivia Morrison (Isla Van Der Heiden) and Magnus Phelps (Connan Masson) in their fight against bureaucracy and the breakdown of society.
The name ‘Jack’ and the school ‘Avondale High’ seem to be recurring themes through the director, writer and drama teacher Mr Benjamin L. Harris’s scripts. For example, previous productions This Lousy Education and Tomb of the Mummy – where many of the leading cast this year had smaller parts or were part of the ensemble back then. I would have been disappointed if neither ‘Jack’ nor ‘Avondale’ had got a mention; but they did.
From a small school, came a small cast, with a huge amount of talent. The cast was not as large as previous years but many of the students doubled up on parts and acted doubly as professionally as most paid actors; making the production no less, if not better, than anything the school has ever produced before.
However, it is not just the director and the cast that are to be thanked for what was on stage but the crew and musicians too. The band, called ‘Gordon’s Alive’ in the play, wrote their own music and lyrics with only a little help from their teacher – which mostly came during the performance. Also a movie trailer which featured on the big screen just before the interval was created by the students themselves too.
What makes this play stand out from any other though is the script and how it is delivered. The play held a very strong message about the future and how it could turn out to be if we do not act now and the students performing this did not forget that once – even in amongst all the humorous one liners. It is incredible how those on stage kept such a straight face when the whole auditorium was in fits of giggles. The school should be proud of its host of comedy actors and actresses.
Having yet again raised the bar, it will be interesting to see what comes next for ‘Down the Line’ and down the line.