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Set the scene and act

13 Oct 2017

The REACTION House Plays Festival is an opportunity for interested boys to channel their inner thespian and, whether in a comedy or tragedy or something in between, take part in the arts. There is always plenty of adrenalin and nervous energy spilling out into the crowd and a guaranteed great night for performers and audience alike.

While Year 12 student Harrison Voice accepted his accolade without feeling the need to give a long and tearful speech, he was nevertheless thrilled to win the Best Actor award. As one of the leads in Condell’s House production of The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World by Jonathan Rand, Harrison relished the chance to show off his acting chops. “Although I’ve never been in any major school productions, I absolutely love acting, love performing – always have.”

Harrison credits the play’s director, Year 13 student Raiyan Azlan, with bringing out the best in the Condell’s House boys and says he believes House Plays is one of the most important events on the school calendar. “It’s great to see people who don’t usually get involved in this type of thing get stuck in, have fun, and find out they love it. It’s so good to see people get out of their comfort zone and give it a go.”

Harper House chose an original play – October Offensive by Year 13 student Jacob Banks – for REACTION. “To be perfectly honest, they chose it because I pushed for it,” says Jacob. “No one really knew how the play was going to turn out, and early on in the rehearsal process there was a sense of uneasiness, however, in the end I managed to give them a clear picture of my vision.”
Inspired by the hymn “I Vow to Thee, My Country” and the experiences of College Old Boys at the battle of Passchendaele in October 1917, Jacob says he wrote the script with House Plays in mind. “I knew I wanted it performed now, mostly because of the significance of the timing. It was the one chance we would ever get to perform a 100-year memorial to the Old Boys who fought in that battle.

Their faith in his vision was rewarded when Jacob won the Best Director award. “It is hard to ask your friends to put their trust in you to direct a good play. It is harder still to ask them to let you direct your own play. But eventually they all warmed to it, and each put their own touch on it as we rehearsed. October Offensive is very much about relationships, and I relied heavily on the boys to create the atmosphere. The set was minimal; it was the actions and the ambient sounds that created the feeling. The boys took the play and made it their own and created a performance more spectacular than I could have hoped for.”

REACTION took place on Thursday 14 and Tuesday 19 September in the Assembly Hall. 

REACTION House Plays Awards 2017

House leadership: House Plays directors
  • Raiyan Azlan (C) The Least Offensive Play in the World
  • Charlie Horncastle (Cf) The Dog Sitters
  • Ben Aitken (F) Life’s a Bitch
  • Jacob Banks (H) October Offensive
  • Hugo Beale (Ja) Pandemonium
  • Sam Mackay (J) Screw Your Courage
  • Finn Sziranyi (R) The Accident
  • Alistair King (Ro) The Chair
  • Luke Zydenbos (S) Country Calendar: a tribute to John Clarke
  • Hugh Marshall (So) Kids in Kilts
Special technician award: for outstanding contribution and technical service for all Houses
  • Brent Criglington (Ja)
  • Henry Seaton (R)
Actor’s award: for creation of a credible character, with impact.
  • Harry Hartstone (C) The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World
  • Simon Brown (J) Screw Your Courage
  • Jack Drage (Ja) Pandemonium
  • Robert Rolleston (S) Country Calendar: a tribute to John Clarke
Runner up Best Actor award
  • Tom Davidson (F) Life’s a Bitch
Best Actor award                 
  • Harrison Voice (C) The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World
Adjudicator’s special creativity award
  • Jacob Banks (H) Original script – October Offensive 
Director’s award: for overall realisation of script as a cohesive and compelling performance
  • Raiyan Azlan (C) The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World
  • Alistair King (Ro) The Chair 
  • Hugo Beale (Ja) Pandemonium
Best Director award: for overall realisation of script as a cohesive and compelling performance
  • Jacob Banks (H) October Offensive
 Adjudicator’s special awards – 2017 MAGIC MOMENTS
  • Rolleston (Ro)                The Entrance of the Robbers’ Award – The Chair
  • Condell’s (C)                  The Climax Award – The Least Offensive Play in the Whole Darn World
  • Julius (J)                        Candice’s Demons Award – Screw Your Courage
  • Harper (H)                      Roll Call/Roll of Honour – October Offensive
  • Richards (R)                   Pam’s Entrance Award – The Accident
  • Somes (So)                    Kill Duncan Award – Kids in Kilts
Ensemble award:  for onstage group commitment and sustained energy
  • Rolleston (Ro)     The Chair
  • Jacobs (Ja)          Pandemonium
  • Harper (H)           October Offensive      
  • School (S)            Country Calendar: a tribute to John Clarke
Production award: for effective use of drama technologies
  • Jacobs (Ja)          Hugo Beale                Pandemonium
  • Julius (J)              Sam Mackay              Screw Your Courage
  • Harper (H)           Jacob Banks               October Offensive
Peoples’ choice award: for the play most obviously appreciated by the audience
  • Night 1:       Rolleston (Ro)                   Alistair King       The Chair
  • Night 2:       Harper (H)                        Jacob Banks       October Offensive      
Third place, overall house play
  • Jacobs (Ja)         Hugo Beale                Pandemonium
Second place, overall house play
  • Harper (H)        Jacob Banks               October Offensive
Tothill Cup, Best House Play Overall
  • Rolleston (Ro)     Alistair King               The Chair

Peter Rutherford, Adjudicator

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