Oakham’s Drama Scholars took part in an extraordinary production of ‘Handbagged’ by Moria Buffini which left audiences not only on their feet with appreciation, but also in awe of how such young actors could convincingly characterise two of the world’s most iconic women: the Queen and Margaret Thatcher.
Never undertaken before at Oakham, the docu-drama play that showcases the antipathy between two giants of the 20th century (one who believed there was no such thing as society, the other having vowed to serve it), was specifically chosen to challenge the Scholars taking part.
“They certainly rose to this challenge and earned standing ovations for their remarkable performances,” says Director of Drama, Gilly Norell. “For 17-year-old girls to be playing much older women, whom everyone has a preconceived idea of how they sound, look and their mannerisms, is a real feat. Each and every one of the six actors relished their own challenge of characterisation and their hard work and efforts, as well as their talents, were showcased on each night of their performances.”
Known for its bold production choices, Oakham’s Drama Department aims to stretch actors by giving them opportunities to take part in plays that aren’t always the obvious, popular, or indeed, the ‘safe’ choice. “This play could have failed gloriously, had it not been for the ability of each of the actors to ‘step up’ to the challenging roles. Whilst they had professional wigs, they weren’t ‘aged’ by make-up – their character performances came from within.”
Audiences loved it – not only for its searing comedy, which was brought to life through exceptional timing and the strong delivery of lines - but for the way the Scholars absolutely wowed them with their character performances. “The standing ovations were well deserved,” Gilly concludes. “And I’m absolutely confident that this experience will long live in both the actors' minds and those in the audience.”
To view more images of the production click here.