Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
Daughter #2’s school plays have changed quite a bit since the days of magical nights in the hall watching The Wizard Of Oz.
Since she got a place at the Liverpool Institute Of Performing Arts Sixth Form College earlier this year, things have moved on. A lot.
Me and the boss drove down to see her and some of her friends in their first performance in a show called Fragments, about the events which shaped the city.
From thousands of people joining up to fight in the First World War, to the horrors of the Blitz, to the dock strikes of the 70s, Hillsborough and the city’s music scene. A popular beat combo called The Beatles, you might have heard of them. I think they did quite well.
Every word spoken in the play, every stick of furniture on the set which the audience walked around and all the sound and lighting was created by the students. And it was incredibly impressive. In the first scene, daughter #2 played a mother watching her young son sail off to war. Me and the boss stood there with our mouths wide open as she played the part like the confident young actress she is.
She handed her ‘son’ a sandwich in a paper bag. At the time I thought it was funny that, when he shared them with his pal, they didn’t take a bite.
“Ugh, that ham sandwich,” she said afterwards. “It absolutely stank. It was about three days old and it had been left under the radiator for hours.”
The next scene took place in a specially constructed Anderson shelter which felt incredibly claustrophobic, round of applause for the set designers there. We all squeezed in to watch a monologue of a young girl whose school and family life was blown to bits. It was all literally a bit too close for comfort but was absolutely outstanding.
The horrors of Hillsborough, told by a young girl who was pulled from those pens and survived, was very hard to listen to. That was some performance. Beyond heartbreaking.
There were kids involved in the play who we’ll be hearing a lot more of in the next few years. It was an incredible show and one we’ll never forget.