THIS SHOW HAS CLOSED. You can view the photo galLery here.
High School fall play production
- Playing November 1, 2, 3 at 7:00 PM
- Rittmann Fine Arts Center on the Concordia International School - Shanghai campus.
‘The world’s gone awry. Their plane has crashed. No one is coming to save them. Alone on a remote island, a group of students face off against their own primal natures. And a beast is lurking, somewhere in the dark.’
TICKETS ON SALE:
- PC-Commons Oct. 22- Oct. 31, 2018
- Student- ¥75 | Adult- ¥100
It is anticipated that this show will sell out. Buy your tickets early.
This play contains thought-provoking themes and some violence and is most appropriate for those 12 years and older. Parents are encouraged to talk with their child about the show, before and after, concerning the message and the take-away. More about the show can be found BELOW.
A side note- Lord of the Flies is taught in the Humanities classroom in the High School at Concordia for all freshman on an annual basis. William Golding's book is timeless and his message vital for teens and adults alike and highly regarded and studied in educational settings across the globe.
- Nov. 1, 2 & 3 at 7:00 PM
- Lord of the Flies is presented in the Rittmann Fine Arts Center on the Concordia International School - Shanghai campus.
Savagery and Civilization in Lord of the Flies
William Golding’s book, Lord of the Flies, is a thought-provoking social experiment laced with a sobering truth; ‘humans are violent by nature’.
In sum, Golding argues that human nature, free from the constraints of society, draws people away from reason towards savagery. While Golding wrote his work as a response to World War II, there are contemporary examples in all corners of the world; terrorism, bullying, and racial profiling to name a few.
Can you think of other examples where people exhibit brutal, savage behavior towards others?
Golding’s setup is brilliantly simple: Students of a civilized society survive a plane crash, and, with no adult intervention, attempt to survive. The children do the first thing anyone from a civilized society would do; attempt to rebuild. But the children bring with them something they didn’t know they had, something they were taught to ignore. Rather than follow rules and work hard, they play, easily succumb to fear, and revert to violence without thinking it through. The makeshift civilization collapses under the weight of their innate brutality, that unknown thing that was hidden inside of them by their cultured past. Golding's underlying argument is that human beings are savage by nature, and are moved by primal urges toward selfishness, brutality, and dominance over others.
But wait! Human beings have successfully managed to create thriving civilizations for thousands of years in relative peace and harmony! The Chinese, the Greeks, the Egyptians, Renaissance Italy, pioneering Americans and so forth. So that disproves Golding's theory about human nature being savage, right? But, just how, exactly, were those civilizations created?
Psychologist Sigmund Freud argued that ‘without the innate human capacity to repress desire, civilization could not exist’. The ego, one’s sense of self, at the conscious, known level must suppress the ‘pre-Self’ that resides in the basement. Without it, psychosis would ensue.
French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan formulated a similar argument, stating that children from infancy are taught to repress the Real (the scary stuff at the root of one’s identity) and instead display, through language and action, what the Other wants to see/hear. An example of pre and post mirror-stage personifies Lacan’s theory:
- Pre mirror-stage- the howling infant who demands to be fed [“SCREEAAMMM SCREAMM SCREAMMMMMM”] vs.
- Post mirror-stage- the three-year-old who asks for it; “Mama, can I have my bottle? I am hungry.”
Language and behavior, building blocks of any civilization, creates structure from chaos. But the Real does not disappear.
Golding makes a similar argument, depicting civilization as a veil that, through rules and law, masks evil within every individual. So, even while civilizations thrive, they are merely hiding the beast. They have not destroyed it. So where does primitive behavior originate?
Some argue that savagery is innate; genetically encoded through evolution. Survival of the fittest. In following this reasoning, we need perspective. Anthropologists claim that homo-sapiens have only been around for 300,000 thousand years. Civilized society gained a foothold roughly 5000 years ago when the Chinese and Egyptians created a language structure; a means of communication. Agrarian society, farmers rooted to one area with seasonal rituals, have been around less than 2000 years, off and on. The Industrial revolution, which provided us with ‘the electric light and heat-on-demand’, has been around but for 150 years. The technological revolution, giving us the ability to make anything just about every day, has been around for less than 75 years. 300,000 years vs. 75 years. In the grand scheme of things, we are newbies, primates, reptiles even, stepping from the goop and muck of carbon-based life forms looking up at the sun, “an eye looking down on you”, Ralph says, seeking… seeking... seeking what? To survive. At any cost. Ready to lash out at anything that might be a threat to our existence.
The "beast" is a symbol Golding uses to represent savage impulses that lie within all humans. Savagery is the ‘beast’ unleashed, something that occurs when civilization stops suppressing its primal urges. Savages not only acknowledge the beast, they thrive on it and worship it like a god. As Jack and his tribe become savages, they begin to believe that the beast exists physically. They even leave ‘IT’ offerings to win its favor to ensure their protection.
The characters in The Lord of the Flies become savages piloted by fear, superstition and desire. Hints of the savage beast can be seen in Piggy's love of food, the way students laugh when Jack mocks Piggy, and their irrational fear of the "beast." We are beasts and it is only through civilization that our craving to destroy can be masked. But it certainly cannot go left unchecked, because it never goes away. Though the students think the beast lives in the jungle, Golding makes it clear that it lurks closer to home; their hearts and minds.
Most of the students on the island either hide behind civilization, denying the beast's existence, or succumb to the beast's power by embracing their primal nature. But Golding presents an alternative: a life of religious and spiritual truth-seeking, in which humans look into their own hearts, accept that there is a beast within, and face it squarely (Christ and sin).
Simon personifies this role and in doing so symbolizes all the great spiritual and religious icons, from Jesus to Buddha to nameless mystics and shamans, who have sought to help others accept and face the terrible fact that the beast they fear is themselves. Simon fights through his fear to discover that the "beast" at the mountaintop is just a dead man. He is relieved and liberated. But when Simon returns with the news that there is no real beast, his fellow humans kill him. Not just the savages (Jack’s group), not just the civilized students (Ralph’s group)—ALL kill Simon, because everyone lacks the courage it takes to face the beast within. This is, of course, the root of all violent action; the inability or fear of recognizing the primal urges that lie within us.
Lord of the Flies also examines relationships and power dynamics. In particular, how young adults fight to belong and earn respect from others. The main way in which the students seek this belonging and respect is to appear strong and powerful. And in order to appear strong and powerful, the children give in to their savage instinct to ignore, pick on, mock, or even physically abuse others who are weaker than themselves. Over and over, Lord of the Flies demonstrates how those that feel vulnerable will save themselves by picking on the weak.
Lord of the Flies is a brutal reminder of what humans are capable of; of what lies beneath it all. The veneer that our egos and social constructs create are easily erased. The question we must ask ourselves is ‘how can we keep ourselves from reverting to savagery?’
Acknowledge the beast within us.
Accept it, rise above it and hold yourself and those who you look to for leadership to the same realization. Eventually, civilization will win out and tame the beast, perhaps permanently.
And just what is life without ‘the beast’?