Double vision for school's Pygmalion

IT'S not quite a bunch of Eliza Doolittles, but when it comes to the famous flowergirl, one school is certainly seeing double.For Orwell High at Felixstowe has two Elizas – and they are both being given the chance to bloom in the school's production of the classic play Pygmalion.

IT'S not quite a bunch of Eliza Doolittles, but when it comes to the famous flowergirl, one school is certainly seeing double.

For Orwell High at Felixstowe has two Elizas – and they are both being given the chance to bloom in the school's production of the classic play Pygmalion.

Jo Day, 16, will be taking the lead role for the three main performances, but her understudy Charlotte Phillips, 15, will also get her chance, too, as she plays the part for the dress rehearsal in front of hundreds of primary school children.

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw is one of the classics of English literature, but is known best to people from its film musical adaptation, My Fair Lady, starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn.


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The play tells the story of common flowergirl Eliza Doolittle who is plucked from the gutter by Professor Higgins and educated for a bet in the social graces so that she can pass into high society.

Rehearsals at Orwell High's drama department, under the guidance of Paula Baker, head of drama began before Christmas.

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About thirty pupils aged 11 to 18 are in the cast, with many more behind the scenes. Costumes and furniture have been borrowed from local theatre groups.

Pupils were preparing for a dress rehearsal on Monday February 10 in front of Year Six pupils from Grange Primary, Causton Junior and Trimley St Mary Primary, with the performances for the parents and the public at the school in Maidstone Road on February 11, 12 and 13.

Tickets are available from Jenny Searle at school, or on the door each evening, £4.50 (concessions £2.50).

Jo Day, who plays Eliza, has been in a variety of productions, including playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Jean-Marie in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Upper Sixth form student Richard Lock, 18, takes the part of Professor Higgins.

Richard is also a veteran of school productions, both acting and directing. He co-directed To Kill a Mockingbird last year. Professor Higgins is his last part as he leaves school to join the police force this summer.

n Students at Orwell High are also preparing for another production – a new play written by Mark Ravenhill, one of the UK's best known contemporary writers.

Totally Over You, to be performed by Year Ten pupils, is based on a one-act play by Molière and is a wonderfully wry look at the folly of modern celebrity. It will be staged from March 19-21.

It is part of the Shell Connections programme, the world's largest celebration of youth theatre, a partnership between Shell, the National Theatre, 13 regional theatres, Faber and Faber and Central School of Speech and Drama.

Orwell will also perform the play in May at Cambridge Arts Theatre as a regional showcase and, if chosen from other productions throughout the country, possibly at the National Theatre in London in July.

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