With the audience failure of "Breaking Point", the producers' eyes were turned towards a large-scale play, better known to the layman, involving a large cross-section of the school in an attempt to attract larger audiences for quick profits (although, unfortunately, their budget went haywire in the hiring of props). With this aim in mind, the idea of 0h! What a Lovely War was born, involving 45 actors, 20 stage crew, members of staff, and a number of musicians.

Rehearsals started with an air of excitement and light-heartedness - the sixth form contingent being the most difficult to handle. In the first few weeks, the classrooms echoed with the sounds of "Von Fluck", "Wizzbang", "Row Row Row" and other well-known songs from the play, but this "Joie de vive" soon wore off.

Rehearsals became binding in an air of boredom, and as a result, several practical joke sessions began, which were not enjoyed to their full extent by the producers.

Again came the famous cliches of every play; "This is the most difficult play we have ever done" and "Never before have we been so far behind schedule - we will never be ready on time".

However, as the performances came closer, an air of urgency became apparent, and soon all was ready for the first night despite a number of last-minute stand-ins, one of them by Stephen Martin, who had three days to learn one of the major parts. Had this been all there was to the play it would have been very easy. However, the main aim of the producers was to get over an anti-war message and it was this which was most difficult to overcome.

Despite anxious moments during the dress rehearsal, the whole play moulded together for a very enjoyable and successful first night. The next three nights were equally successful, in spite of a little hitch in the singing on the last night. Although the press appeared to have enjoyed the play on the Wednesday night, they did not give it the publicity it deserved.

Colin Clubbe.

| Programme | 1971 Magazine Index | HOME |