Ever since I first arrived at King Edward’s School, one of the things I always did other than find opportunities for writing, art and languages was get involved with anything to do with drama, be it Drama Club, competitions…you name it! Eventually, I found the biggest outlet for my interest in theatre – the school’s Junior Production.
For two years in a row, I was part of the Junior Production, a joint project between the King Edward’s boys’ and King Edward’s girls’ school to put on a theatre production. A lot of people have compared it to West End London, but nestled right in Birmingham! The shows are always big scale, big on quality, and a great way to explore all the aspects of drama.
In my first year at KES, I acted in ‘Around The World In 80 Days’, a play about a man who is given a bet to travel across the globe in just 80 days. I played the Parsee, an elephant owner who helps the man complete part of the journey on the back of an elephant. Oh boy, I can still remember the amount of work it took for me to master the Indian accent…but I got there in the end! I also took part in a Bollywood dance routine – one of the roles that I am most famous for. On top of that, I played the extra role of a dancing octopus too! Yes, you read that right, I gladly took on the role of an eight-legged groovy sea creature!
The second year brought the play ‘An Awfully Big Adventure’, inspired by the story of Peter Pan. I was a grumpy old Park Keeper…who magically turned into a pirate on the trips to Neverland! This time around, not only did I have to practise a Northern pirate accent (an amalgamation of Scottish and Irish), but I also grew my hair out to sport a pirate look. Apart from chasing after Peter Pan, we also got the chance to show off our ‘beautiful singing voices’ with a few sea shanties. It seems there’s an ocean theme running through all of the productions, huh?
Unfortunately, with all the obstacles and restrictions that Covid-19 has brought, it was not possible to organise a Junior Production this year. This was a huge disappointment to everyone, since we were looking forward to this year’s production. My year group was especially saddened since this would have been our last year to experience the Junior Production – next year, we’d have to take part in the Senior Production, which has a much more serious and professional atmosphere.
But we weren’t going to let the coronavirus get in the way of things, and we were determined to have a production in some form! So instead, this year, we’re putting on individual plays for each year group. That way, we can enjoy the experience of a Junior Production, but still be safe in our own bubbles! The play we’re doing is called ‘The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and 3/4″. Yep, very long title. But it’s a really interesting and funny play, and people in our age group can relate to it as well.
I’m playing Nigel, the best friend of Adrian Mole, the main character. We’re still in the early stages of rehearsal, but so far it’s turning out great. Yet again, we’ll have to put it on hold since we’re in isolation for two weeks now. But hopefully, everything will be back in action next month. Stay tuned to see what the finished product is like!
Melancholy mode on,
Mukhtar O. Mukhlis
p/s: Have you ever taken part in a play or theatre production?