Last month, a group of Etonian linguists competed against 14 other schools in the King Alfred School French Drama Festival. Described by one entrant as a ‘one-of-a-kind experience’, schools perform an abridged adaptation of a French play, and this year Eton were awarded ‘Best Unique Theatrical Experience’ in celebration of their humorous interpretation of La Cantatrice Chauve (The Bold Soprano).

With the assistance of French assistants Mlles Durieu, Aounit and Gellée Marceau, the Eton team prepared an abridged production of Eugène Ionesco’s comedy, an eccentric exploration of mid-20th Century nihilistic philosophy. The text belongs to the Theatre of the Absurd, a movement brought about by the end of World War Two. This era of French theatre was defined by the avant-garde depiction of the absurdity of human existence in an effort to expose its meaninglessness.

Congratulations to Philip Balkan (JCAJ), Morgan Fry (RDO-C), Charles Hickey (HWTA), Phineas Hubbard KS, Freddie Loehnis (JDN), Max Kachingwe (JCAJ) and Nathaniel Swift (SPH) for their portrayal of the idiosyncrasies of these quirky characters. At a time when intercultural communication is vitally important, it was heartening to see boys engaging with a language and cultural heritage different to their own.