The future’s not necessarily bright: QE’s School play celebrates H G Wells

After last year’s visit to Neverland for its production of Peter Pan, QE’s Drama department took an altogether darker course this year as it brought three H G Wells stories to the stage.

A cast drawn from Years 7-10 grappled ably with the Victorian author’s tales of dystopian futures where technology creates misery for mankind. The production was entitled Out of Time: A Wellsian Trilogy.

""The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds were adapted and directed by sixth-formers Keenan Dieobi, Mark Thomas and Nicholas Pirabaharan and performed in the Shearly Hall.

Director Elaine White, who oversees Drama at the School, said: “Our production paid tribute to one of our greatest science fiction writers and we found that the cast engaged enthusiastically with Wells’ imaginative, somewhat dark themes.”

""The audience found themselves cast in the role of delegates to the 71st Annual Wellsian Symposium of Future Sciences. And in another innovative feature, pre-recorded film was used for the first time in a QE play to complement the action on stage. For The Time Machine, Year 12 pupil Milan Shah first generated raw footage, building on the green-screen techniques developed last year, and then Art teacher Jeanne Nicodemus added suitable backgrounds and the film was further edited. QE’s Head of Science, Malcolm Russell, put in an appearance as a pre-recorded ‘talking head’, providing a scientist’s welcome to the symposium.

“Our vision of the future had a deliberately ‘retro’ feel, harking back to the days of the representations of space and time in early cinema. For this, great credit goes to Year 12 pupils Ricky Eatough and Jathieesan Umaasuthan, who led the team of technicians,” said Mrs White.

""The action on stage was supported by a number of musical compositions overseen by Director of Music Cheryl Horne, who also conducted the 12 live musicians. The music for: The Time Machine was composed by Himal Bulathsinhala, of Year 13, and Joshua Wong, of Year 12; for The Invisible Man by Abbas Adejonwo, of Year 12, and Mark Thomas, also of Year 12, and for The War of the Worlds by Alfie Clarke, of Year 12. Mark also composed electroacoustic music for the auditorium.