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Posted by: Staff | 27 February 2012

'An Inspector Calls' - a Reflection

2011, as well as being the year of CFS's 30th Birthday Celebrations, was also the year of the school's first ever production of a full length literary drama classic. 'AnInspector Calls' by J.B.Priestley was performed on 24th and 25th February, by a cast of eight Upper School students. Although the play has for years been studied at CFS for English Literature GCSE, to perfom it was an ambitious undertaking, particularly from the point ofview of the massive number of lines to be learned for the main parts.

Two days before the first performance was due, on the Tuesday, the cast met in Miss Lord's office with three members of staff, for a crisis meeting. The proposal was put to the cast that they we should postpone the performances for 2-3 weeks, to allow time for the cast to become confident with their lines. Alhough we had been rehearsing for the play since September, a rehearsal the previous afternoon had highlighted vast gaps in the knowledge of the lines, which would cause the production to fall part in live performance. However, the cast were united in wanting to go ahead as planned with the performances that week. The staff were concerned that the event would end in a fiasco, and that the experience for the students would be totally demoralising.

After about 20-30 minutes of discussion, one of the students suggested that we should pray about the matter, and ask God for his guidance. This we did. All eight members of the cast and all three members of staff prayed for God to speak to usand guide us in his will. It was a very humbling and moving time of knowing God's presence among us all. Miss Lord then decided to defer the decision about possible postponement until after the dress rehearsal, which was taking place that afternoon, and to leave the final decision to the students.

That afternoon in the dress rehearsal, the perfomance was transformed. The scene which had been the worst the previous afternoon was one of the best of all. The students unanimously decided to go ahead with the performances that week as scheduled. Once again we met in Miss Lord's office to give thanks to God for his miraculous intervention.

Two days later, on Thursday 24th February, we arrived at the first night. The whole production team, joined by Miss Lord, met for prayer before the show opened. We knew that our success was dependent on God and his help.

The performance was electric. The atmophere of the whole evening was filled with a sense of God's awesome presence. The second night too was riveting. Those of us who had been involved in the producton knew that we had experienced God's hand and his answer to prayer in a way that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. The production had become far more than just a 'school play'- it had become a faith adventure with God in which both staff and students alike had laid hold of God and seen him break through andanswer us in a way we will never forget. In this faith adventure, the students themselves had taken a leading role. For me personally as director, the experience was one of the most powerful revelations I have ever had of God's love, and of his power made perfect in myweakness. May the production of 'An Inspector Calls' go down in the annals of the history of CFS as a testimony to our God who loves us,who meets us in all our weakness, who hears the united prayers of students and staff, and who can turn around an apparently impossible situation to the glory of his name.

Michael Farrington, Director

Comments from the Cast
Stephanie Tran (Sheila Birling):
"The project required a lot ofhard work, both from the cast and crew. Like with most grand scale productions like this there were difficulties to overcome. However,through prayer and teamwork both evenings were a great success.

I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the production of the play: costume, hair/make-up, set/props, sound/lighting, rehearsing, line-learning, prompting, tickets, programmes, seating, refreshments, announcing, backstage help, stage management, filming, photography, staff and parents for their support and co-operation, and everyone who came to watch and donated money towards the cost of the production and the school building fund, which made the production something to be very proud of.

Most of all I would like to thankour director, Mr Farrington, for his time and effort, the rest of the cast for their wonderful acting performances, and God for his grace and strength throughout the whole process, without which none of this would have been possible."

Guy Hollywood (Eric Birling):
"For me, 'An Inspector Calls' was a wake-up call to see God's hand in my activities. As well as challenging my line-learning skills, it also challenged my faith in God and how we can step into the 'darkness' and make it light. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience, and I hope there may be similar opportunities in the future."

Esther Lawrence (Inspector Goole):
"I always knew that 'An InspectorCalls' would be challenging - it took me six months to learn my lines, but in the run-up to the play the challenging aspect seemed very very large! However, I thoroughly enjoyed the rehearsals, the excitement and the final production. God really did help us amazingly in the last week. We put in a lot of work but God put the cherry on the top!"

Sophia Lawrence (Edna, + Prompter):
"As prompter for the production I know all the hard work that went into learning the many lines for the play. During the production they only needed very occasional prompting from me; although they messed the order around a little they managed to stay on track. I can truly say it was an outstanding cast and as we together asked God to step in and help us I felt an extra grace upon the whole performance."

Comments to the cast from parent
Steph Sharples (teacher of English, Archbishop Blanch School):
"It was an ambitious play for acast so young, but I honestly think it was at least as good, if not better, than any of the professional productions I have seen of it ... I felt uplifted and inspired as I watched, and also convicted by God about the need for us to care and look after others more.

Mr Farrington told me that in the couple of days leading up to the play you guys had prayed that God would be glorified through the production. I really believe that is the case. It was not just a good performance; it was an inspired, empowered performance and I'm sure that I speak for lots of us in the audience, that watching you made us feel very proud of the school."