Tuesday, November 21, 2006

More Remnants of a Life Past

Following is a second selection of photographs taken during my six years of teaching at Sts Peter and Paul’s Primary School in Goulburn, New South Wales (1988-1993).

To view the first selection,
click here.

Above: Jason and the Argonauts set sail on the Argo! From left: Anthony Hutchins, Robert Elder, Stephen Polzin, Jason Kelly, and James Stephens.

Above: Jason and the Argonauts do battle with the Skeleton Warriors!

Here’s what I had to say about this particular play in the school newsletter:

5B’s dramatic interpretation of Jason and the Argonauts owed much of its success to the children of 5B, who worked hard to stage this Greek legend concerned with the quest for the Golden Fleece. A big thank you and congratulations is due to Danielle Lewin who, at extremely short notice, took on the lead role of Jason.

Following are comments from the cast on their characters and the performance:

“It was a real challenge learning and acting out the part of Jason. I enjoyed playing the hero of the play.” – Danielle Lewin (Jason).

“It was a hard role, but fun. I tried hard to put as much feeling into the character as I could.” – Linda Coady (Medea).

“It was good to play the role of a king. I had no difficulty learning my lines.” – Adam Bush (King Aietes).

“It was exciting to rip the paper that we were pretending was the ground we were hiding underneath. It took a long time to make and paint the ground but only a few seconds to destroy it.” – Ryan Robson, Angus Peden, and Matthew Bugden (Skeleton Warriors).

“It was really fun. The best part was squirting the boy sitting in the front row in the eye.” – Alice Connor (Head of Dragon).

Above: James Baird as the Australian bushranger, Captain Midnite, with his clever Siamese cat, Khat, played by James Condylios.

5B’s play was based on Randolph Stow’s children’s novel, Midnite: The Story of a Wild Colonial Boy, and was performed for the school community in 1993.

Above: At one point in 1992, we had the bedroom of the young son of the last Russian tsar set up at the front of the classroom! Pictured sitting from left: Briody Connor, Bernice Wolford, Tess McGowan, and Sharnee Fleming. Standing from left: Nicole Guthrie, Amy Gerard, Lauren Shinfield, Jodie Glanville, Rachael Gordon, and Joanne Graham.

I first starting developing and teaching a unit of work on Russian culture and history in 1988 – my first year of teaching. Of course back then, the Soviet Union was still in existence. The momentous events of the following year meant major changes had to be made to this particular unit of work. Yet the part of it that always held the most interest and fascination for the students remained the same – the life and tragedy of Tsar Nicholas II and his family.

We would watch excerpts from the 1971 film Nicholas and Alexandra and role play the tragedy of the imperial rulers’ young son, Alexei, who suffered from haemophilia, and his seemingly miraculous healing at the hands of Rasputin.

The girls in the class particularly enjoyed setting up the bedroom of Alexei – complete with framed photographs of the imperial Romanov family, candles, and Russian icons. The students of 5B would stage their re-enactment of Alexei’s mishap, confinement to bed, and subsequent recovery (based on the real life events at the Polish hunting lodge of Spala) several times, as different students wanted a turn at playing the coveted roles of the ailing Alexei, the haughty yet desperate Tsaritsa Alexandra, and her four young and beautiful daughters, the Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Marie, and Anastasia.

Above: The Goulburn Post’s report on 5B’s 1992 construction of Spook City from Michael Ende’s classic book, The Neverending Story. As the newspaper notes, “Students used extracts from the novel as well as Gothic architecture to plan and build their model of the crooked and eerie city of spooks.”

Above: Bastian (Chris Hogan) and Atreyu (Ben Smith) do battle in the play I wrote based on Chapter XXII (“The Battle for the Ivory Tower”) of The Neverending Story, and which 5B performed for the school community in 1991.

For the school’s newsletter, numerous children were asked to comment on this production. Here are some of their responses:

“It was a great play. The best part was when I kicked the throne off the platform.” – Chris Hogan (Bastian), 5B.

“It was spectacular. I especially liked the painted backdrops and the characters.” – Clint Bopping, 6B.

“I thought the person who played Bastian was good.” – Jamie Moran, 3B.

“It was very well done. The monsters were a bit gruesome with the blood on their swords.” – Graham James, 6L.

“It was exciting and enjoyable. The best part was when the giants carried the throne down the aisle.” – Lisa Moore and Melissa Clements, 6B.

“It was a very good play, especially how they memorised their lines.” – Brooke Fielding, 6B.

Above: Easter 1993. We’re at St. Michael’s Noviciate performing Sara’s Gift, an Easter play I wrote and which a number of 5B classes performed over the years.

Above: Adrian Zantis as the resurrected Jesus in Sara’s Gift – 1993.

Above: “Mr. Bayly” – in typical late ’80s/early ’90s attire.

See also the Wild Reed posts:
Goulburn Revisited
Goulburn Landmarks
Goulburn Reunion


Anonymous said...

Nice hair!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael, Its Bernie Conroy here. My girlfriend googled my name and we came across your site which was a pleasant suprise. We had a good laugh at all the photos Especially the one of tom as Jesus. I am currently living in the Uk and have been doing so for the past 18 months. My plans are to travel to Mexico in 5 weeks as my girlfriend is a Mexican. I hope all is well in the states and look foward to hearing from you soon.

Clint said...

i dont remember commenting on that production!! lol! but i probably did..