Last week, I was lucky enough to be a judge for OUDS Cuppers 2010, the first-years’ college drama festival. This involved gazing into the tiny, uplifted faces of fresh thespy youth and then brutally marking them out of 10 in a variety of categories including acting, design and marketing. As in 2007 (the last time I judged), the process was accompanied by a lot of moaning, whinging, averted eyes and tears, chiefly from the panel. Onstage, the Freshers were relatively restrained, stopping at fellatio and the odd anal rape. As in 2007, I actually really enjoyed the process – especially running the feedback sessions for competing teams – and hope that OTR sends me back again next year.
I haven’t seen the final awards list, but my Oxford names-to-watch would be Matthew Brooks and Frankie Goodwin as directors; and Rhiannon Kelly, Charlotte Lennon, Emily Norris and Claire Taylor as performers (hey, guys? If you’re reading, be awesome, it’ll make me seem clairvoyant).
Anyway, for posterity’s sake, my reviews:
Wednesday 17th November
2.30 p.m. The Wizard of Argoz, St. Peters College
“Warmly appreciated by a large College audience, which, after all, is one purpose of Cuppers” Sophie Duncan ★★
3:00 p.m. Phaedra’s Love, Wadham College
“If Michael Brooks develops this version of Phaedra’s Love into a more nuanced but no less intense production, he’ll be the director to watch.” Sophie Duncan ★★★
3:30 p.m. Comic Potential, Jesus College
“I rather lost my heart to this engaging cast” Sophie Duncan ★★★★
4:30 p.m. The Choice, Corpus Christi
“His unexpected intensity made Choice, for a moment, a completely different play.” Sophie Duncan ★★★
5:05 p.m., Love of the Nightingale, Somerville College
“Claire Taylor as Procne gave the performance of the day.” Sophie Duncan ★★★★
Dr Sophie Duncan is Fellow in English at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She works regularly as a historical advisor and as a dramaturg for theatre, TV, radio and film. She likes theatre, detective fiction and cocktails.