One of the reasons I stayed on at my secondary school into the sixth form was a desire to take part in the house play competition. As far as I recall, it was the only event in which the four houses (all named after English naval heroes, which gives you some idea of the environment in which I existed for seven years) battled each other in circumstances that didn't require a communal shower afterwards.
The normal process was to choose something sub-Coward, or Rattigan on a bad day; if you had a couple of actors who could attempt a non-specifically northern accent without sounding Sri Lankan, you might select from that unjustifiably crowded field, the School of Hobson's Choice.
We (Charlie, Rick and I) didn't want to play safe. A few years before our number came up, one enterprising soul had staged the first act of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, which was a bit of a disaster, but a brave disaster. We wanted to follow that example, either to triumph, or to go down in a blaze of incomprehension. We elected to put on Woody Allen's play Death (now probably better known as the source material for his underrated 1992 expressionist comedy thriller, Shadows and Fog). I can't remember why we dressed the hypnotist as Aladdin-Sane-era David Bowie, or gave the murderer a Fulham scarf to wear; or indeed why we chose 'Spread A Little Happiness' as the introductory music; but something seemed to work. The judges retired to a more salubrious venue, and the following morning the headmaster announced that we'd won.
It was a few days later that I discovered none of the judges had thought our production was the best. All had placed it second, then disagreed wildly about the merits of the other three plays, enabling us to come up through the middle. Despite our strivings, we'd achieved the one thing we dreaded most: a beta-plus; a polite verdict of all-round competence.
When, several years later, I put on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe, the critic from The Scotsman described it as "unbelievably atrocious". I was delighted, and notwithstanding the entreaties of my colleagues, put the quote on the posters; attendances doubled in the second week.