What’s the School Play this year? (3)

In the late 1930s came four plays which more or less enshrined the High School’s “Golden Age of Female Impersonation”. The first of the four was put on in 1936. It was that well-known Shakespeare rib-tickler, “Twelfth Night”. Here is the full cast:

And here is a smaller selection, although, strangely, I can’t find every single one of them in the previous photograph:

They all look pretty good, more or less, at least until you manage to see them in close up. This young man will die in the outskirts of Dunkirk 1n 1940. He has only four years left of his young life. He has such a strange expression on his face. If I didn’t know better, I would say he was well aware of his imminent demise. Or perhaps it’s the famous “thousand yard stare”. Here’s the actor:

And here’s the “thousand yard stare”:

This pious “young lady” (below) will be one of the two hundred or more parachute troops who were drowned when their gliders crashed into the sea during Operation Husky, the disastrous attempt to invade Sicily with airborne forces. Does that knowledge that he has only seven short years to live show on his face, too?

In 1937 the School Play was “The Fourth Wall”, a detective story in three acts by A.A. Milne. It was a marvellous opportunity  to get your hands stuck into a pair of plus fours made from the R101 (left leg) and the Hindenburg (right leg).

And just look at that wonderful dress on the right. It’s so frothy, so summery, so YOU !  Warm evenings in August or even September. Perhaps good for dancing. Perhaps even a Charleston or ten.

And this time, they actually want you to wear it. Your Dad won’t go crazy and offer to lend you his jodhpurs. And for the first time ever, your sister will want to borrow one of your dresses.  

And just ;look at the seductive whites of that pretty young man’s eyes. And those cheekbones. Somebody out there really knows how to give make-up some “oooomph!” :



Filed under Film & TV, History, Humour, Literature, Nottingham, Personal, The High School, Writing

9 responses to “What’s the School Play this year? (3)

  1. The only reason I joined the school Drama Society was because we combined with the girl’s school up the road to put on a joint production. And it was a lot of fun and we all thought we were fantastic.

    • I don’t think you will have been the only crafty teenage boy to join a society of that type. We had a joint literary and debating society which always attracted large crowds, especially when meetings were held at the girls’ school.

  2. The details of the early deaths are chilling

  3. Do you think any of them had premonitions about their impending doom? They were mere children doing a man’s job and paying the ultimate price too.

    • To be honest, I have seen quite a few photographs in the school magazine of boys who would be killed in the early stages of the war and many of them do seem to have a very troubled expression on them. Personally I do think that somehow they had picked up some kind of premonition of their own deaths, but they probably didn’t realise what it was, especially as the war had not started yet.

  4. I enjoyed our high school plays. As an artist, I was usually called on to help with making the props.

  5. Yes, my wife used to be an art teacher and she also finished up doing the props. It always seemed to me that she worked incredibly hard but without getting a great deal of the glamour or the glory. And the props are so important. Hamlet with no skull to declaim about. Henry V with no wall to breech and three witches with no fire and no cauldron !

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