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Preview: Wall(s) by DramSoc @ Tobacco Factory Theatre

After their critically acclaimed production of Manosphere, the University of Bristol Drama Society (DramSoc) is back with another ground-breaking theatre spectacle.

By Milan Perera, Second Year English

After their critically acclaimed production of Manosphere, the University of Bristol Drama Society (DramSoc) is back with another ground-breaking theatre spectacle which deals with some perennial questions that nag at our collective conscience through the vistas: morality, integrity, pragmatism, and the fear of death.

The scriptwriters, Yannis Megalou and Joe Hayward turn their gaze towards continental Europe for inspiration where they find a hidden gem in the evocative short story, Le Mur (The Wall) by Jean-Paul Satre.

Satre was without a doubt an intellectual stalwart in the 20th century who exerted a far-reaching influence on ethics, morality, philosophy, and literature. Though, self-effacing as a fiction writer, Satre utilised his collection of short stories as a vehicle for his Existentialist musings. His unshakable faith in humanity is ever present in every page.

The creatives behind DramSoc's latest venture | Milan Perera / Epigram

The original short story is set during the Spanish Civil War which lasted from 1936-1939. It revolves around three political prisoners awaiting their execution in the morning by the firing squad. They are staring at a wall overnight where their minds are overrun with conflicting emotions. But there is a way out. If the prisoners were to divulge information on the whereabouts of a wanted anarchist leader, their lives will be spared. Rudely hit with this moral conundrum, the prisoners must decide between integrity and self-preservation.

In the hands of Megalou and Hayward, Stare’s less-known short story was sublimated to a theatre piece of rare brilliance which presents Satre’s Existentialist themes in a new light. The adaptation is brimming with fresh details, transposing it to a modern audience. The number of prisoners is increased, representing a realistic cross section of the society. The conflict remains unnamed.  Think you know the ending? The directors significantly moved away from the ending of Satre and are set to take the audience on an untrodden road.

The creators who had the blueprint of the production since last summer were thrilled with the turnout for the auditions which compelled the producer Cecelia Quant to announce extra dates for auditions.  Both Megalou and Hayward are of the firm belief that the body language of the cast conveyed on the stage is as important as the dialogues, hence they worked extensively on the movement and choreography.

After working alongside the brilliant Anna Sharp as the assistant director for Manosphere, Joe Hayward is equipped with heaps of experience for a theatre production as challenging as Wall(s.) Yanni Megalou who is making his directorial debut knows no nerves but relishing the challenge. He has been bursting with innovative ideas to make the production slick and sophisticated. Cecelia Quant who has been the creative glue which held the cohort together relieved the directors of all logistic issues ranging from room booking for rehearsals to advertising.

Featured Image: Bristol DramSoc / Tobacco Factory Theatres

Brace yourself for a rollercoaster ride as the highly polished cast treads the boards again between 29 March – 31 March at the Tobacco Factory Theatre.