Thought-provoking 'Lord of the Flies' to be staged at Upper School
International Baccalaureate drama teacher Anna Blagona intentionally chose Year 8 and 9 boys to present a dramatic version of William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies for their February play.
“I selected this play deliberately for an all boys school because the ideas from the novel about what it means to be a man have changed,” says Blagona, who directs the show. “Our black and white set is part desert island and part graphic novel, because the version of masculinity it explores is what you see in those novels.
“The play looks at a group of boys who are uncensored and unsupervised, and I wanted to explore whether how violent and brutal they are is innate or due to how you’re socialized.”
Lord of the Flies, which will be performed Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 27 to 29 at 7 p.m. in the Upper School’s David Chu Theatre, has a cast of 11 and a crew of four. The crew handles stage management, lighting and sound.
Blagona says the preparation for the play allowed for some unusual experiences. The boys had a couple of sessions with a fight director to learn how to make staged spear fighting and hand-to-hand combat appear realistic. They also worked with a Muay Thai fighter to learn how to mimic real punches and kicks and the physical recoil each of those would engender. In addition, UCC’s football coach talked with the cast and crew about the dynamics of all-male groups and about male brain chemistry.
“It was about helping them to understand their identity from social, biological and intellectual perspectives and how to be a master of that identity, rather than vice-versa,” says Blagona.
It is a play that requires a lot of thought and introspection on the part of the actors. Blagona and the cast spent the first two weeks reading the play aloud and discussing particular moments and what they symbolize.
“We looked at where the characters changed and where they dissolved from humans to animals,” she says. “We also talked a lot about the key moments of decision and the repercussions of those decisions. I hope it makes a difference in how they present their characters.
“In any case, it was an opportunity for them to learn about acting, about themselves and about humanity.”
Note: Lord of the Flies is not an appropriate show for students younger than 12.