Prep School Play 2018 – Archie Dobson’s War
To commemorate the year that saw the end of the Great war ( 1914-18) Year 8 decided to tackle a complex ensemble piece that was commissioned by the BBC in 2014.
‘Archie Dobson’s War’ is the story of how the First World War affected a community in the heart of rural England. Wellingborough, in point of fact. This was not a character lead piece but a highly stylised collective work involving narrators, a small number of named characters and a shape shifting cast that went from being workers in the fields or factories to letter writers in the trenches, cannon fodder on the Somme and ultimately the celebrating crowds seeing their damaged sons returning.
This required great discipline, understanding and empathy. Rehearsals were sometimes fractious and required patience on all sides as the many jigsaw pieces were carefully slotted together and then…. a week before curtain up it suddenly came together. And what a thing it was.
Wonderful singing and movement created a real world and truly told the story of Archie Dobson’s war. The initial optimism and sense of adventure, the workers leaving the factory, the death of his friend as he advanced across no man’s land, the zeppelin bombing his home town and ultimately the anger and sadness at so much loss.
The wonderful playing of Mr Leutfeld supported every scene and left the audiences moved and thoughtful. It was everything great Drama should be and so much more. Well done everyone – like a perfect machine every piece mattered.