2016 HSC OnSTAGE performance: The Dying Swan

The Drama course, you know, still excites me after all these years because it there’s such variety in it, so we’ve got individual performances and the group performance but this particular group performance it was such a narrative piece. They were telling you a story but it was so grounded in research and what they’d done I was back in Shakespeare’s time. Like the Swan Theatre and the Globe Theatre. I was seeing the Thames. I was seeing this poor drama group that was trying to compete with someone who was a legend back then, which he was and they were they worked so strongly as an ensemble together I found through the whole piece. Yes their ensemble moments in their physicality and their vocal control were exceptional. The timing and in every single moment that they had was exceptionally controlled, and in unison…very engaging. Their characters they made them their own and such vast characters that that were all part of this theatre company. You can see the influences where they were coming from but they did not rely on taking whole sections out of a Shakespearean play. They incorporated the language of Elizabethan times into their own story which I thought was very clever. And I love the way obviously that the piece was so tightly rehearsed. Okay as you’ve sort of said because when they did an ensemble movement, or when they had ensemble vocal moments, every character knew exactly where to be on stage and that that just doesn’t…you can’t just to do that. You need to very tightly we have that rehearsed otherwise it’s not going to portray the way the actors want to. And it was good to see a big group and even though it was a big group, they were all in the moment all the time. you didn’t see them leave the stage…you know in many circumstances, yes William went hid a couple of time, but he came back as other characters. So they were all on stage, all the time and in every single moment and really owned those comic moments to the recurring motif of Queen Elizabeth, of the Dying Swan, the final moment when they’re dying and just their heads appear on a parapet on the balcony. Very clever. And they’d thought about their characterisation. If you think about those characters they thought about their own physicality and their skills so they’re the characters that they chose to play. For instance the boy playing Queen Elizabeth did a fantastic job and he was really committed to that trumpet sound. So if you go you’re going to do something like that really commit to it, because then the audience will be totally on your side. Yes which in this case of course they were. Yeah it was an energetic engaging piece of theatre. Mmm and a lovely narrative moments where someone was going to run in the knife and you know the knife and you know as you know we can’t allow knives in HSC performances, but just holding the hand well we all believed the knife was there. Yes we saw it and we believed it. It was great.

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