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This week York Dramasoc announced their line-up of weekend shows for Spring 2018, a total of eight shows that will run for between three and four nights next semester in The Drama Barn. The season includes a wide variety of shows from across the theatrical spectrum with a focus on modern classics and political debate, as well as a couple of shows with all-female casts. These shows will bring a whole host of talent new and old to The Drama Barn for another semester starting next January.
The season starts with Freak by Anna Jordan, a play about a relationship between two women with a fifteen-year age gap. Written originally for the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014, it is a risque hour exploring female sexuality in a frank and often funny manner. This is followed in Week 3 by Yes, Prime Minister, the critically-acclaimed farce by Sir Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. Based on the popular 1980s television series of the same name, this play from 2010 is a satire of the incompetency of those in power that remains relevant no matter who currently resides in 10 Downing Street.
These shows will bring a whole host of talent new and old to The Drama Barn for another semester starting next January.
After that, The Drama Barn will be transformed into France circa World War One for Private Peaceful. A theatrical adaptation of the classic Michael Morpurgo novel, this play tells the tragic story of a young soldier looking back on his life before the war began. Then in Week 5 the tone will lighten a little with a new production of Speech & Debate, the hugely popular 2007 comedy which recently received a long-awaited major London debut starring Tony Revolori of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Adapted into a film earlier this year, it tells the story of three misfit teenagers who form an uneasy alliance in order to participate in their school's debate competition.
At this point in the semester there has been no play staged that was written before 2003. This focus on more modern productions marks a change from the current semester's line-up, which features productions of classics like Doctor Faustus and twenties farce Tons Of Money. DramaSoc briefly goes back a little further to 1997 for their next show, running over Valentine's week, as a production of Amanda Whittington's Be My Baby is to be staged in over Valentine's week. Soundtracked by the sounds of 60s pop, this heartfelt all-female play focuses on a young woman who has a child and is unwillingly sent by her mother to a religious home to be watched over.
Next up is one of the most experimental productions of the semester as DramaSoc takes on a modern Russian play that apes its classic forebears. Mikhail and Vyacheslav Durnenkov's satirical comedy The Drunks experiments with unconventional structure and political allegory as a wounded soldier returns to his home town to find it has changed wildly in his absence. The Drama Barn's penultimate weekend show is also its most well-known, as The History Boys is revived in Week 8. Adapted into a very popular film in 2006, this Alan Bennett play tells the story of a group of English schoolboys attempting to get into Oxford and Cambridge University.
In addition to these shows, there will also be a whole host of original writing shows playing on Monday nights and these will be announced by DramaSoc in the coming weeks.
The final show of the year is also its oldest, a production of Tony Kushner's A Bright Room Called Day. The precursor to his classic Angels In America, this 3-hour epic from 1985 tells the story of a group of artists in 1930s Berlin who find their lives upended by the rise of Nazism in their community. The show features highly controversial direct parallels between modern politics and those of Adolf Hitler and his party, making it an apt conclusion to a line-up of shows that challenge social and political norms through both satire and tragedy. In addition to these shows, there will also be a whole host of original writing shows playing on Monday nights and these will be announced by DramaSoc in the coming weeks.
The shows have now all been cast and their announcements are available to view on Facebook and you can like 'York DramaSoc' for more information about when you can see these shows. With a focus on bringing new and challenging shows to The Drama Barn, next year's spring line-up is not to be missed.