The Staffroom: Review
By Evan Papamichael
The Staffroom (hereinafter referred to as the play) makes an ironic juxtaposition; hence, between serious issues such as nervous breakdowns leading to attempted suicide and how the boring life of teachers at school can be perceived in a humorous manner.
The focus is on one teacher replacing another at the start of the new school year. We feel tension as to why educators “crack” under pressure. Anxiously we await what will happen next. But at the same time we can have a few laughs through dry humorous jokes and the idiosyncrasies of the characters. Most significant is the catch line at the play’s commencement where Steve the Science teacher (Chris Broadstock) jokes to Simon (Leon Durr) about the drama teacher which Simon replaces.
What initially happened to this previous teacher (her breakdown and eventual resignation) is the fate awaiting the Science teacher Steve. This is not made clear to the audience until the end. In between all of this suspense we find there is a sub-plot where the teachers and the Vice-Principal express their emotional conflict within themselves and at times with one another to show friction, frustration and disagreement.
The essence of the character is built up in this way as expressed above. The characters are put to the test where they are all ignorant teachers and have little respect or dignity for themselves or anyone else. But when there is an attempt on someone’s life they feel shock, horror and remorse. But as the play ends in a similar crisis as previously stated (attempted suicide) they disregard the seriousness of the issue. A new school year starts and it is a case of deja-vous in a sense.
The moral of the story is two-fold. Firstly, that no one should take things seriously and that’s why the play was humorous to some extent.Secondly, when we face the reality of issues such as mental illness and attempted suicide, are we really capable of handling them? All of this is left for the audience to decide!