On Friday 22 February two British actors visited our school to perform ‘Meaning in the Mud’, an interactive play/lecture on World War I, a topic that was elaborately covered in our English classes. Before the play started Emily, the lead actress, was trying to ‘recruit soldiers’ by luring them with chocolates; students who denied her offer were publicly shamed, students who took the chocolates were heralded as heroes.
Once we were seated, the two actors performed a poem on shellshock. At this point the play seemed very serious. Luckily, the entire play didn’t turn out to be as serious as the intro. It quickly became clear that there was going to be a lot of interaction with the audience. Everybody liked this concept, as long as they weren’t chosen to perform along the two professional actors … There were some hilarious role-plays with the – rather unfortunate – students, who had to wear the authentic attributes – a gas mask, a field phone some helmet – provided by the actors.
The actors also performed some war poems and provided us with background information on the poets who had written them. They clarified the difference between poems that were written in the beginning of the war and poems written towards its end.
To our own surprise, these poetic detours were far from boring as these mini-lectures were livened up with old pictures that showed the horrible circumstances the soldiers had to endure. At one point we were shown a clip from ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, whilst the actors explained how the battle scenes were inspired by Tolkien’s own war experiences. It was also interesting to interact with native British actors.
Overall we really enjoyed this show and we learnt new things along the way, even though we had already covered some of the poetry and historical background in class. We hope our school will organise more plays like this in the future.
Daria, Julie and Wannes (5LT), Marie-Charlotte and Simon (5ET)