Here is another little story I thought might amuse you. It's much shorter and less detailed than my other work and, since it doesn't take place in the same fictional universe, I felt it should have its own thread. Anyway, please enjoy!
JESSICA’S GREATEST PERFORMANCE
Note: This two-part article was taken from the St. Sawney’s Junior School Newsletter, July 2026.
My School Play
By Jessica Green, Year 6.
Our school play this year is called “The Nine Days Queen” and tells the story of Lady Jane Grey who became Queen when she was only seventeen years old but was executed as a traitor just over a week later when “Bloody” Mary Tudor claimed the throne. The play is written by our drama teacher, Miss Hamilton.
I have only had small parts in other plays so was very pleased to be told that I had won the lead role of Lady Jane herself in this play. For my audition, I used Ophelia’s famous speech from Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
At the first rehearsal, Miss Hamilton told me that she had decided to make the play more realistic by having an actual beheading at the end. She asked if I still wanted the part and I said I did but asked if this meant I could only do one performance and other girls would get the part for the others. She explained that she had thought of a way to have me star in all four performances and only behead me at the end of the final performance. Once I heard that I agreed right away. She also told me that, although the real Lady Jane Grey had worn a dress for her execution, she wanted me to be naked to emphasise the vulnerability of my character. The play would also start with a nude bath scene to mirror the end. I was nervous but excited when I heard this.
At the end of the rehearsal, Miss Hamilton explained that she would find three other girls who looked enough like me to have their heads cut off at the end of the first three performances. The try-outs for this were lots of fun. More girls tried out to be my stand-in than had actually auditioned for the whole play. First Miss Hamilton narrowed them down to girls who were about the same height as me and had long, blonde hair like mine. She wasn’t too worried if their hair was not as curly as mine as she said it would be in a pony-tail for the scene and she could use curlers to make us match. I had to stand on the stage in the nude and the other girls had to get undressed and stand next to me so our bodies could be compared. Miss Hamilton explained that most of our faces would be covered with a blindfold to make it easier for audiences to accept the switch. She managed to find three other girls with a similar figure and breast buds to mine but we all had different amounts of pubic hair so she said we’d all have to shave to make us match better.
In the first scene of the play, my character is seen taking a bath. The girls playing the servants help me out of the bath and I have to stand in the middle of the stage with noting on while they pretend to dry me. I always enjoy this scene a lot and enjoy showing off my body to the audience. The servant girls then dress me. At the end of the play, after my character has been sentenced to death, boys playing soldiers undress me in the middle of the stage like the opposite of the beginning. They then tie my hands behind my back and cover my eyes and nose with a blindfold made from a black pashmina scarf. Once I am tied up they lead me off the stage and through the audience to the doors at the back of the hall. Although I can’t see, I like to imagine everyone looking at my nude body and not noticing the scene being changed on the stage, ready for the execution.
Once we get to the corridor outside the hall, I am untied and the blindfold is put on the girl who is waiting to take my place. She is then tied up and led back up through the audience while I run through the corridor to back stage ready to take my bow.
Although every other role in the play is taken by a pupil, the executioner is played by Mr Wilkins, the PE teacher, because Miss Hamilton was worried that a boy would not be able to swing the axe hard enough to chop off a head in one swing. I am always jealous of these girls but I know it is my turn tonight.
At the end of the play, I take my bow naked holding the head of the girl who was beheaded in my place, without the blindfold, so she can get the applause she deserves too. At the back of the execution set is a rack of spikes with three heads on. For the first performance, there were dummy heads stuck on but after each performance we replace one with the real head that has just been cut off.
Alfie Robinson’s dad is a butcher and he has taken the bodies away after each performance to cut them up into steaks and chops and also make burgers and sausages for the Leavers Barbecue after tonight’s final performance. There will not be time to butcher my body so I will be cooked whole like a medieval hog-roast which seems appropriate. I am sad that I will not get to try any of the meat but I hope my friends and teachers will think I am as good a dinner as they have said I am an actress.
I have to stop writing now and get ready for my final performance. I hope everyone enjoys the show tonight and the barbecue after.
Review of “The Nine Days Queen” final performance
By Karen Swann, Year 6
Last night was the final performance of our own Miss Hamilton’s play “The Nine Days Queen” which told the tragic story of Lady Jane Grey who was made Queen then executed as a traitor all while she was just seventeen years old.
While a few artistic liberties were taken, the script remained true to history and was a genuinely educational as well as entertaining and moving story. Splendid performances were given by the whole cast with special mention going to Robert Hardwick as Lord Dudley and Sally Eastwood’s terrifying performance as Mary Tudor, who became known as Bloody Mary.
Most credit, of course, has to go to Jessica Green in the title role. For the first time, she portrayed the character throughout the whole play, taking the audience on a journey through the tumultuous final days of this intriguing and tragic historical figure.
The inclusion of a rape scene where the executioner, played by Mr Wilkins, violated Lady Jane before executing her appeared to come as as much of a surprise to Jessica as to the audience but she did not break character for even a second and continued her flawless performance right up until her head was cut off.
Following the play, the bodies of the four girls beheaded over the last two days were served at the Leavers Barbecue with Jessica once again giving a stand-out performance as the spit-roasted centre-piece.
I give the play and the meal that followed a full Five Stars. *
Ha! I did enjoy that one. The surprise rape part made me laugh too.