Societies Spotlight: Downing Dramatic Society

The Lent term has been an extremely active one for the Downing Dramatic Society (DDS), with three different productions taking place over a matter of weeks.

First in early February was 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, performed over four nights at The Heong Gallery.

Set in 1956, the play follows The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein, who are hosting their annual quiche breakfast. When the atomic bomb sirens sound, they’re forced to face the real root of their love for quiche and what has brought them all together.

A review in Varsity Magazine lauded the cast’s ability and the way the production pulled off pace, humour, and emotional intensity. It said: “With an intimacy, warmth, and originality hard to find outside of small society productions, each character was vividly brought to life by the cast.”

The play's Director and DDS Vice President Lily Ellis said: Directing 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche provided an opportunity to engage with a small cast of extremely talented actors, allowing us to focus on the characters and create an immersive experience for the audience.

"The cast perfectly approached the absurdity of the script, encouraging the audience to really become immersed in the world of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein.” 

Hot on the heels of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche came the DDS Freshers’ Play, this year an adaptation of Parfumerie by Miklós László. The story follows George Horvath, the top salesman at Hammerschmidt’s, a successful cosmetic store. George must navigate the sudden frostiness of his employer and his friction with his colleague Amelia Balash, whose natural talent for sales poses a threat to his position.

The show was directed, produced, and performed by Downing first-years, and the talent displayed throughout the run was evidenced by the audience’s glowing reviews. As said by Ivan Ampiah, the show’s director: "In true DDS fashion, the cast and crew have soared with every challenge, every obstacle and every seemingly impossible task that I have thrown their way in the process of creating this show. It was a joy to work with them all." 

Having set the bar so high, we cannot wait to see what comes next for the brilliant production team and actors involved in this year’s Freshers’ Play.

Finally came the annual A Festival of New Writing, a showcase of nine one-act plays, all written and performed by Cambridge students, taking place over the course of three nights at the Howard Theatre. This year’s festival displayed a variety of creative stories, ranging from a medieval dragon-slaying adventure to a comedic romp involving a killer masseuse.

DDS President Tilly White said: “I’m so proud of all of the fantastic productions which DDS has put on this term- the brilliant reception from each of the shows is a demonstration of the creative talent, from directors, performers, and the wider production teams, within the society. I can’t wait to see what comes next for DDS.” 

Published 26 March 2024