2 January 2017
Casting and putting on a musical for Congreve was without doubt a big ask, but one that paid off, with plenty of memorable moments for cast and audience alike.
Prodigy is a wonderful and cautionary tale of what happens when reality TV meets competitive classical music, competitive contestants and even more competitive families. It was an impressive and unifying undertaking for Stowe, an explosive tale of intensive hard work, vanity, love, betrayal, pride, hypocrisy and humility.
Brought to Stowe by our new Director of Drama, Rebecca Clarke, and Head of Academic Music, Alex Aitken, this show (a new schools’ version) gave us a glimpse of what a drama company looks like. After only a few short weeks of intensive rehearsals, Stoics rose to the challenge of creating something from nothing and building a team where none had previously existed. This enabled them to react and respond to the unexpected in their performance and communicate a fresh and spontaneous original artistic event at each of the four shows.
Originally commissioned by the National Youth Music Theatre, Prodigy gave many opportunities for ensemble acting and singing, solos, duets and trios, plenty of choreography, a fight scene and a minimal set with maximum lighting and bright costumes.
Leading his orchestral arrangements from the grand piano, Mr Aitken performed beautifully whilst directing a ten-piece orchestra consisting of our visiting music teachers. From a personal perspective, I was really impressed with how Music Award holders, choristers, actors, rugby specialists, those with no acting experience, those with no singing experience, all blended together to form a seamless and cohesive whole and gave the School a real demonstration of a positive, shared endeavour based on genuine challenge and growth.
Carole Dore from the Drama Department reflects “the cast and crew excelled themselves and delivered a truly entertaining and engaging piece of theatre. The ensemble work was the highlight for me - all members of the cast supported each other and they delivered a powerful and ordered performance which communicated their enjoyment to the audience. I was lucky to be sitting on the front row and I could palpably feel the enthusiasm and attack all the cast put into creating this production. I left the Roxy reminded how powerful theatre is and what a unique privilege we have to work with such pupils.”
Cast member Dan Biss (Lower Sixth, Grafton) reflected: “I will never forget the feeling you get when you walk onto the stage to see a full audience waiting for you to perform. ‘Prodigy’ will always have a special place in my heart and so will the people associated with it.”
Our in-house production team of Mr Baker, Mr Goodman and Mr Weston, was assisted by Lighting Designer, Casper Sunley; Choreographer, Nyroy Dixon; and Costume Designer, Suzanne Burlton. The production received the support of Steinway, Viking, LightFantastic and SoundWave.
Photos of the event can be seen here.
Geoffrey Silver, Director of Music