With Covid restrictions again on the rise, it’s been surprising to witness the creative efforts by which many locals have managed to regain a sense of community. Within schools, this has been no different, as I interview student Xanny Cowell about his recent involvement with our forthcoming school play, and why events like these are more important than ever.

‘The School for Scandal’, a comedy of the ages written by Richard Brinsley Sheridan and first performed in 1777, seems exactly what many students at Latymer Upper have hoped for - a catharsis from all the tension, stress and pressure that the new school year has brought up. However, following disruptions from Coronavirus and the subsequent government escalation, it seemed unlikely that any community event, let alone a whole school play, would be able to occur; I talk to Xanny Cowell, a student at Latymer Upper, on his opinions on the decision to revitalise the school tradition in a new form. 

“The play is about a group of individuals who share gossip and ruin others' reputations,” he remarks, adding cheekily: “It’s fun to watch people gossip about each other behind their backs.” The School for Scandal has been running rehearsals since the start of October, and the production crew, Director Justin Joseph and co-director Federica Dal Brollo, are soon to announce the date of debut, though the “earliest will be right before Christmas, latest before Easter.” Thankfully, no one in the cast has been diagnosed with Covid-19, and are hopefully unlikely to due to the safety precautions the school has been careful to enforce. “Social distancing is still required when rehearsing and performing,” Xanny notes, “It would have been nice to get everyone together like usual, where we could be able to watch the parents and teachers come to see the play and give us shout-outs in assemblies, but this time we’ve made the decision to film it and distribute copies to viewers instead.”

Having starred in almost every previous school play, from ‘Treasure Island’ in Year 7 to ‘Our House’ last year, it's easy to understand why Xanny and his peers might be feeling a little dejected. With motivation in schools appearing to be, at least anecdotally, running lower than ever, oxymoronically alongside an odd sentiment coming out of lockdown that if you haven’t gained a new skill, you never lacked time - 'you lacked discipline', the world has been both emotionally and physically brutal for young people. “It’s certainly been frustrating at times,” he laughs, “but showing that things can continue, even though they may come out a little rushed or haphazard, is really important for boosting school spirit.”

The film will be purchasable from Latymer Upper in the coming school terms. Instructions for purchase will likely be recorded on the school website.