Sixth Form linguists present critique of war for Spanish play

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Six Sixth Form pupils have been preparing for the past term and a half to present this year’s Spanish play, Fernando Arrabal’s Pic-Nic, to an audience of family and friends.

The play tells the story of Zapo (played by Oscar López-Válido), his parents (played by Cosmo Szokoloczy-Syllaba and Ellie Lloyd), and his prisoner Zepo (played by Ben Hooper), as they settle down for a picnic on the battlefield of the Spanish Civil War. Why should gunfire and bombs spoil an otherwise perfect Sunday afternoon? Further cameo roles were played by Mateo Teniente and Olof Svennson.

Pic-Nic is generally considered to be a critique of the futility of war, in which – like Zapo and Zepo – the soldiers on the front line often have little or no understanding of the conflict in which they are caught up.

The parallels established between Zapo and Zepo suggest the absurd fratricidal nature of war and civil wars in particular. The play is an example of the Theatre of the Absurd, and although written in the 1950s, it was not performed in Spain until 1977, two years after the fall of General Franco’s dictatorship.

View a selection of photos from the performance here and watch a video here.