A Teacher’s Lament is not the revolutionary political statement that we would expect a show of this nature to be. This show is made up of repetitive scenes that are so satirically bad that we have to wonder whether Keele Drama Society is mocking the education system rather than raising awareness about the plight of teachers.
The show is devised from a teacher’s memoirs, spanning different years and subjects, with the overall message being (spoiler alert) that teaching is very difficult, or at least that's what we have to assume the message is, it's not particularly clear. We see several of the same scenes; the cover teacher doesn’t know what to set during the class, children don’t want to work, the head of department checks in and gives them questions from a textbook. If anything, it seems to blame the failings of the education system on teachers.
Even the points of analysis that accompany the show are all said in the same tired manner, there’s no deviation and it makes the show incredibly formulaic to the point that any impact that its supposed to have just disappears as A Teacher’s Lament progresses. Keele Drama Society might want to look to 2019’s Teach for inspiration and pointers next time they put on this show. Teach covered the same subject - experiences of a teacher in an underfunded school - it was performed as a spoken word piece in such a grippingly emotional way that showed some degree of caring and investment in the subject, I still remember it to this day because the writing and performance had a profound impact on me. In the case of A Teacher’s Lament, I will very quickly and happily forget this show, as it seems to be performed to score some points rather than to try and contribute to the conversation about the faults in the education system.
There’s just something incredibly grating about adults playing children; it’s pretty much the nails on the chalkboard equivalent of acting. It’s not just the shrieks that are too loud for the size of the venue, but the intense whining that accompanies every line, everything about it is profoundly irritating.
Not a particularly impactful, annoying and overly dull show, A Teacher’s Lament needs to be either completely restructured or scrapped, because as it stands, it's pretty much unwatchable.