Pembroke Players presents...
By Jack Thorne
Michaelmas Week 6
"The Wave" is based on a true incident that occurred in the Palto High School, California, in 1969. A history teacher, Ron Jones, tried to inspire his disaffected students by conducting an 'experiment in discipline' - reproducing the mentality behind the Hitler Youth movement.
The result, according to Jones, was "one of the most frightening events I have ever experienced in the classroom". No one talked about what happened for 3 years.
It was in 1981 that, under the pseudonym 'Morton Rhue', Jones wrote "The Wave". A minor classic, particularly in Germany, it seeks to get to grips with the psychology behind Nazism, and has sold 1.5 million copies world-wide. It has been made into a play in 16 different countries.
Jack Thorne's new adaptation of The Wave has been described by Ron Jones as 'a wonderful and important play'. It aims to reveal how the pressures towards conformity thrown up within the classroom can create the conditions necessary for a cult born out of adolescent despair. In a year in which members of a secret group of 'outsiders' - the Trenchcoat Mafia - shot dead 24 of their classmates in a Colorado school, the enduring relevance of the message cannot be doubted.