The Chalet School staff very helpfully put on a production of Othello to help me with my literature essay.
St Clare's House Characters:
CBB member, Hilda Annersley, Jo (Bettany) Maynard, Kathie Ferrars, Nancy Wilmot, Nell Wilson
Chalet School Shakespeare
09 Jul 2011 Updated:
09 Jul 2011
This is another piece of essay-induced idiocy. People really shouldn't make me write essays, I'm convinced it's bad for me.
Casting by Eleanore
Following on from jayj's helpful subtext suggestion, Kathie felt I might find my essay more interesting if she presented me with a full cast production of Othello.
I believe now she rather wishes she'd never thought of it.
As soon as she heard what was going on, Nell demanded the part of Iago, arguing that as she apparently still scares Kathryn, it was only right that she be allowed to play the villain. She got her way - I think there are moments when Nell rather scares Kathie, too. Nancy, as the director's favourite, was naturally cast as Othello - to which our poor little drama queen objected, as she wanted to play a nice character with a happy ending. When Ruth (who sensibly decided to have nothing to do with this madness) pointed out that there were no nice characters with happy endings in Othello, Nancy went off in what looked suspiciously like a sulk, at which point the director informed her that she was well on the way to not being the favourite any more.
Joey, who by rights shouldn't be in the play at all, has cast herself as Desdemona and no one can talk her out of it - although about five people are trying. On hearing of this, Biddy and Hilary came along to demand parts on their own account and, as Roderigo and Cassio respectively, are now embroiled in an argument with Peggy Burnett, who feels that only current staff should be included in this production. This ideological standpoint may have something to do with the fact that Peggy herself has merely been cast as the Messenger.
Nancy offered to swap roles and let Peggy be Othello, but was firmly told that, as the favourite of both the director and the intended audience, there was no way she was going to be allowed to get away with anything less than a major role. Nancy tried pointing out that Emilia, whilst not having many lines, was a fairly important role - only to be informed that the part of Emilia had already gone to Hilda, who was at that very moment busily cutting from Emilia's speeches anything which might not be suitable for the ears of well-brought-up Chalet School girls, and thereby reducing her role to something only marginally more significant than Peggy's Messenger. Kathie did attempt to argue that Eleanore, as the intended audience, was not a well-brought-up Chalet School girl, and probably knew far more about unsuitable things than Hilda herself, but Hilda replied that it was never too late to become a true Chalet School girl, citing Nancy as an example of someone whose true Chaletness didn't appear until well into adulthood, and Kathie gave up both her argument and her will to live.
Matey has been given the part of Brabantio, and so far seems to be the only cast member not to cause the director any grief - although this is possibly because Kathie is still too much in awe of Matey to dream of objecting (at least, in her hearing) to anything Matey might choose to do. Sharlie makes a less-than-impressive Duke, and was not cast for her acting abilities but rather because, by that point, Kathie was simply relieved to find someone who would do as they were told without argument.
Rosalie is doing her best to act as prompter, but Hilda and her red pen have moved on to censoring the rest of the script, so Rosalie is frequently finding herself prompting people with lines that are suddenly no longer part of the play, to the great surprise of the director who has not authorized any editing of the text and who is starting to wonder whether the final production will bear any resemblance to Othello at all.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, Kathie is now tearing her hair, and wishing loudly and frequently that she could go back to directing Middles in the Christmas play. She had originally intended to direct The Rover as well, but I believe she is now rethinking this.
My next essay after this one is on The Taming of the Shrew, and I really want Kathie to direct that, but I'm not mentioning it to her until after she's recovered from this Othello fiasco.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.