Bad Teacher: The Glass Will Shatter @OmnibusTheatre

The Glass Will Shatter by Joe Marsh focuses on a young teacher continues to relive a harrowing event that took place at an inner-city school. School is a battleground of crowd control and regulations. Pieced together through a series of flashbacks, it’s a smart piece of storytelling which turns the incident on its head.  And a lack of understanding and inherent biases lead a to both a disaster and new opportunities. It’s having its world premiere at Omnibus Theatre.

Rebecca (Josephine Arden) can’t sleep. She keeps having the same nightmare where her former student is about to cause some act of terror. She meets her old boss, Jamilah (Alma Eno) to see if she can get over the past. There through the flashbacks, we see her encounters with the young student Amina (Naima Swaleh). But Amina isn’t the student from hell we’re expecting. Sure there’s the backchat and the classroom banter. But there’s the curiosity and interest in Rebecca that’s dismissed out of hand by her.

As the piece progresses, opportunities to connect are missed, and a stray comment by Amina leads to Rebecca reporting her to the police in line with the government’s Prevent Strategy. This strategy aims to identify children at risk being drawn into terrorism.

While school life can be tough, what’s in focus is how the choices made by the adults in the room are framed by their own biases and ignorance. It’s given a slick treatment here with moody sound effects and projections. There’s also an assured performance by Swaleh as the “troubled” teen Amina. She projects the right balance of indifference and vulnerability to dazzle when she’s on stage.

Perhaps it all ends a little too incredibly. But it still provides enough provocation to contemplate how easy it is for lives to be made or ruined by chance and ignorance.

Directed by Lilac Yosiphon, The Glass Will Shatter is at Omnibus Theatre until 8 February.


Photos by Sam Elwin

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