Nowadays, as time seems to fly and people tend to rush from one place to the other, it is obvious that people do not often rethink their actions. Nevertheless they sometimes actually think of the impact their deeds have on other people. To be on the safe side everyone watches their own back. This is one of the main statements Philip Dart demonstrates with his play “The Visit“.
The students from tenth to twelfth grade had the pleasure to see the breathtaking, English-speaking play “The Visit“ staged by Vienna’s English Theatre on the 24th of December 2017. The play was written by Philip Dart in 2015 and is based on the classic play “An Inspector Calls“, written by J. B. Priestly in 1945. In both plays an inspector conducts an unannounced audit with the attendees. While “An Inspector Calls“ is set in 1912, “The Visit“ takes place today. Philip Dart transferred the classic play and adapted it to common circumstances of teenagers nowadays, so the message of the play is accessable for them.
The plot: Three students from University, Abby, Jez and Lewis, share a flat. Despite class distinctions they all get along very well. At one point they start playing a drinking game after a party in their flat, when all of a sudden the door rings and a stranger arrives. It turns out to be a detective, Teena Whitsom, who has to ask the students some questions about a girl, or rather: a girl that committed suicide on campus that night. The inspector’s only request is to interrogate each student as an individuum. At last, it becomes obvious that Abby, Jez and Lewis relate to the victim and actually play a part in the suicide. They finally become aware of the influence their actions have on other people and the ramifications that can follow, whether they bullied the girl, sold her drugs or forced her into an abortion. Indeed after Whitsom has left, the students realize how odd the questioning has been and calls the police station for more detailed information about the inspector. Shockingly, detective Teena Whitsom does not exist. Abby, Jez and Lewis feel relieved and estimate that it just has been a hoax by other students. But certainly Jez‘ phone rings and one of his friends informs him about a suicide on campus.
The open end of the story encourages the students to reconsider different aspects of the plot and they may even think about an end themselves. The performance was stunning and has certainly touched the audience. Afterwards the actresses and actors were open to answer questions so there was a short discussion about an feasible ending and afterwards the students were briefly introduced to the life of an actor, such as for example the living conditions while visiting multiple schools performances in Austria and Germany.
All in all, the Bodensee-Gymnasium students enjoyed Vienna’s English Theatre quite a lot and appreciated the refreshing and hip performance.
Tessa Fiegle, Q12