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An uncommon detention

Our new video The New Head Girl is a school spanking story, and it's a bit of an odd one.

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First, some facts: this is the last scene from our two day shoot with Caroline last year. It's the first scene we ever filmed in which I wasn't performing in at all, freeing me up to be behind the camera: the inept handheld camera work is all mine. (This was my first try - all part of the learning curve.) And I think it was the first switch scene we shot too, in the sense of a scenario in which the same character both tops and bottoms; in this case, the new Head Girl.

When I wrote this scene, I was most interested in the tension between the shy new Head Girl and the bolshy, cynical school rebel. Adele and Caroline played that out to perfection; but watching the scene unfold also revealed some aspects I hadn't anticipated.

It's long, for one thing: 26 minutes. An implement tour always takes a while, doubly so with both Adele and the Housemaster, played by Thomas, both using each of hairbrush, ruler, tawse and cane on the hapless Caroline. (A comparable scene is A Taste of their Own Medicine, in which Head Girl Zoe gives two prefects a tour of all the implements they've mis-used during their disciplinary reign of terror.)

The extended nature of the scene contributes to the biggest thing I didn't really anticipate: how dark it is. Caroline's remark, "This is detention, not The Beating Hour!" is bang on. She is whacked to an extent that's actually a bit surreal. It's hot, I think, but if you need your school stories to be uber-believable this might go too far.

Then there's the question of fairness. I wasn't sure whether to tag this scene as 'fair' or 'unfair', so I went for both. The premise that Caroline is the naughtiest girl in the school and deserves everything she gets initially feels a little stretched. She's witty and sympathetic, and the punishment quickly feels excessive. But you don't actually find out what she's done until late in the scene. What starts out seeming like a horribly unfair ordeal perhaps, by the end, makes a little more sense.

Adele, too, plays a sympathetic character: the Head Girl who can't bring herself to exert discipline. Administering punishment to Caroline is almost a punishment for Adele in itself - she's not having any fun, and Caroline's jibes only make her feel worse. It therefore seems doubly cruel that when Adele is deemed not to be applying herself, she has to endure the same treatment.

There's definitely a moral ambiguity here. The Housemaster's claim that the Head Girl needs the strength of mind to do her duty sounds plausible, but does she really need to be punished in front of Caroline? By the end, Adele may have learned some physical skills at Caroline's expense, but it's not clear that she's any better mentally equipped to exert authority. I think that hint that the whole exercise may have been in vain is one of the most sinister aspects of this scene.

But mixed in with all of that is the fact that thanks to the wit of all three performers, this video is funny - far funnier than I'd expected. Caroline's jaded comebacks are laugh-out-loud witty; her bored expressions while being beaten are priceless. The hostility between the goody-two-shoes Head Girl and the naughtiest girl in the school is beautifully played out, from trading snide remarks to making faces at each other behind the Housemaster's back. A lot of the humour is dark ("What are you going to do - hit me?") but it still lightens the mood. There's levity, too, when the Housemaster and Caroline start trading reminiscences about her more outrageous misdemeanours, and you realise that he's not entirely unsympathetic to her cause, after all.

Whether you read this scenario as dark, light or something inbetween, it offers a fascinating interplay between three of my best actors. Combining M/F and F/F, it's chock-full of spankings from a range of implements, mild to severe. There are some brilliantly funny bits, but I'm hoping it's edgy enough to appeal to the hard punishment fans. Anyway, let me know what you think.

     

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