From Simon Finnegan, Year 11
On 10 May, Waverley College’s Years 11 and 12 Entertainment classes took a trip to the Sydney Theatre Company at Walsh Bay. There we were given an extensive tour of the STC’s facilities and Departments. After the tour we took our seats for the hysterical play, Popular Mechanicals.
ACT 1: The Tour
On arrival at the STC we met Lisa Mumford, an educational officer at the company. She took us straight to the Properties Department. The Prop department was mammoth in size and in range of props. You could easily spend hours just looking the diversity and range of the department. Props ranged from antique wheelchairs to severed stallions heads most likely obtained by the company after Francis Ford Coppola was done with it.
We then moved on to the Construction and Stage Design Department. This is where all the pieces of set and stage are built for each new production. There we saw samples of a future set designs. We learnt most of the design have to be sampled many months in advance in case of faults or design change. From there we moved to the Art and Paint Department. The Art Department is fairly self-explanatory. It was a large room where everything is painted and then repainted if not up to scratch. It’s a pretty refreshing place to be if you’re tired of the generic rainbow colours because the boys and girls there have experimented with every possible shade, tone and colour under the sun.
With the props and sets done it was time to move on to something more intimate for the performers; the Costume Department where talented people spend hours putting the fancy clothes on people’s backs. The costume department in some way mirrored the prop department because it was full of the most eccentric and bizarre things you will ever see. From dresses made from organic material to imperial robes. This place really did have everything. Unfortunately that led to the end of our production line tour. But no matter since we had a play to watch.
ACT 2: The Play
Now Waverley wasn’t the only school to be experiencing the play that day. Several other schools had turned up for the performance. I had the great fortune to sit directly in front of a group of girls who found every syllable which came out of the actors mouth’s hysterical. But I wasn’t complaining because my fellow classmates and I were in for a treat. “Popular Mechanicals” is about a group of amateur Shakespearean actors who enter in a competition, with a prize of preforming for the queen. The show is a playful mix of Blackadder and Monty Python, which is all done in Shakespearean style. Music has a strong component in the play, with all actors giving several musical performances throughout the play. The play’s subtle and not so subtle slapstick and somewhat vulgar humour gives the play a lovable and watchable end product that can be enjoyed by anyone. An easy 4.5/5
It was a worthwhile excursion for the Entertainment students as we now have a better understanding of how theatre companies operate.