Class Reviews by our Young Writers Group
We invited our Young Writers Group to the CLASS press night to give them the opportunity to review the show. Here’s what they thought..
I’m not a huge fan of rollercoasters but after seeing the rollercoaster that was CLASS, I can safely say my mind has been changed.
CLASS (Written and directed by Iseult Golden and David Horan) presents some incredibly deep and dark themes in a manner that is easily digestible. It isn’t all doom and gloom though, since the humour throughout manages to lighten the tone whenever things have gotten glum. The result is a very entertaining piece of art that challenges your perceptions about how schools are run, how teachers are treated and how parents feel when their child is having difficulty.
The themes tackled during the play were, put simply, real. They were real issues that happen in the world, and issues that seem to be ignored by society and the government. Issues such as mental health and the crippling crisis that teachers are forced to make the best of in terms of the education system. As well as sprinkling in some ideas around child neglect and the roles of the teacher not only to teach, but also to take care of the children that are placed in their care for the duration of school.
At first It was confusing, the scenes were changing too much but I did understand where the parents were coming from.
Something i recognised was how at first the teacher was saying their child had reading problems and he needed to move to a different class, then said it might be dyslexia, then brought up him being violent in school, really and truly, I think it was a trauma that causes all those things.
CLASS highlights how children really aren’t passive creatures. Like, yeah I know that but I think a lot of adults treat children as such and as if children don’t get it. Like, even though they may not understand certain terms or the extent of a problem, children still have feelings and stakes in it. So watching how Kaylie is dealing with everything filled me with a certain feeling of warmth at how well she’s handling it but also sadness because the thing about CLASS is that it isn’t just a play, like, there are kids all over the country going through this and not getting the support that they need.
There were so many points in this play that had me filled with such intense sadness and sympathy. For everyone. Even when I thought they didn’t deserve it at the time.
What I love about this play is that it’s not just a commentary on the education system. It’s also a commentary on class itself, power, parenting, and the collateral damage when things don’t quite go to plan. In other words, oof how tragic.
CLASS was an incredibly clever, heart warming and touching piece of theatre. It explores issues surrounding the class system (don’t we just love a good pun), learning difficulties and family dynamics through the relationships between the two parents (Brian and Donna), the parents and the teacher (Mr McAfferty) and also highlighted the importance of teacher-student relationships through interactions between Mr McAfferty and Jayden (the nine year old son) along with Kaylie (another student).
What was really special about this play was the use of multirole – where the actors play both the parents and the children. The change overs were slick and highly impressive; not to mention the actors being so versatile in their performances. Playing both the sweetest and most believable children then swiftly switching to, let’s just say, a more mature stage presence. Not only the acting was touching, but the way the play addressed such a sensitive issue was gentle, humorous but also touching and eyeopening. By showing many different perspectives of the situation, you could empathise with every single character – witnessing both their fault and quirks but also their strong, justified opinions.
Amongst the array of productions I have seen so far, CLASS is definitely a piece of theatre that I have great admiration for. The play is precise and authentic in it’s topic, and explores relationship dynamics in the rawest form possible on stage. The honesty of the characters and the familiarity of the situation makes the play true in its intentions. The characters of the Mother and Father alternate in scenes and multi-role characters of young children in an afterschool group – executed in such an accurate way I have never witnessed in any other live performance. Golden and Horan’s script is so refined and honest in its themes of loss, nostalgia and relationships and alongside the utter excellence of the cast create an emotionally heavy and thought provoking take on the brutality of life – portrayed in the most truthful form. The set’s double entendre in the scenes it holds allows the audience to become emotionally involved with the intended audience – most have experienced the mundane routine of school and the teacher and parent involvement with a child’s development. The way in which the drama undoes itself in the script is crucial to the audience’s capability to eventually grasp equal empathy for all characters. The crescendo of the play brings all of the characters together to allow reality to come to terms and negotiate with what each character wants – which in most cases is not ideal, providing a valuable message regarding the harshness of reality. I rarely watch a piece of theatre more than once, but I would without a doubt give this another go.
CLASS is a pretty long play to have no interval and I can’t write by hand in the dark because you know, I don’t have night vision so I’m pretty much writing this off the top of my head. I kinda hate having to write a review when I have no idea what I wanna write about and it’s even worse when there’s too much to write about because I loved this play, it was funny and clever and powerful and incredibly well acted. Not only did the actors convincingly play parents struggling with a potentially life altering decision for their child but also managed to act as young children without it seeming corny.
Every line, every movement, every transition and simply the beauty of how it was written and performed and the passion that was so evident in the way it was written and directed just blew me utterly away.
CLASS is incredible, or at least I remember it as incredible but I’m just a random person who happens to love plays that are deeply awesome and heart-breaking.
CLASS played in the Theatre from 7 May – 1 Jun.