There are times when scenes are planned meticulously, discussed days, even weeks in advance. Yet some of the very best are more spontaneous, such as one I played recently with HH as my fellow schoolmaster, and Catherine and Emma Jane as pupils. The basic idea – a detention scene, the girls in uniform – had been floated before lunch; by the time we were ready to play, they’d found themselves in trouble for repeated misbehaviour during the week. Six demerits? A Sunday detention – which, according to the established protocol, would inevitably finish with a dose of corporal punishment from both supervising masters.
HH and I disappeared to plot as the girls got changed – and soon two (quite adorable) young ladies were knocking on the door of the detention room and being told to sit next to each other at the long table. We’d provided pen and paper, we explained, so that they could each write letters of apology for their misbehaviour – to be displayed for all to see on the school noticeboard.
I was loving the scene already – the easy, unrehearsed dialogue that HH and I improvised, the reactions of the delightfully demure pupils. And the writing task worked even better than I’d hoped, the girls concentrating intently on their letters – and, as they did, seeming to inhabit the personae of those naughty schoolgirls who’d committed the offences they were dreaming up as they wrote.
We made them swap the letters and check each other’s work for accuracy before making them stand and read their own – quite fabulous – confessions aloud as we sat stony-faced, disapproving of their respective litanies of transgressions. [You can see the letters themselves across at the Art of Punishment, HH’s blog].
Then to the punishments. HH and I had determined the order and the implements for these before – HH going first (as I’d done so in another lovely scene the day before), with a paddle he particularly wanted to use, leaving me with a rather nasty tawse (which we’d actually given him a year before). Not that we hadn’t filled the table with various other implements besides, the slow and careful selection adding to the tension for the girls…
The paddling looked nasty – a mean implement, used hard, each girl bending over a table in turn with her skirt lifted. Catherine went first for her six licks; EJ followed, earning an extra one for non-regulation knickers. I winced from the sidelines, admiring his technique and their bravery.
Then my turn. I knew they’d expect me to punish them in the same order – so changed it, calling a freshly-paddled and slightly tearful Emma Jane straight back out, before giving Catherine her six of the best. Best-ish: I wanted this to be hard, but not *too* severe – leaving them feeling chastened rather than beaten. Each stroke clearly hurt, though, as I wanted it to do – punishing, imprinting my and the school’s disapproval.
With a final lecture, they were sent back to their dorm to change into weekend attire… and then, before they could close the door, we were back out of character and into caring hugs. Perhaps twenty, thirty minutes had elapsed – of the most excellent roleplay, with trusted and trusting partners: a simple scene that I’ll remember with delight for a long time to come.