A Week Of 2 Sharing’s! (Part 2)
In the 3rd week of March I spend Monday night and Saturday working with one of my favourite groups! Travelling Light’s youth theatre 14-19 year olds!
They are an incredible group of young people, that seem to have such a deep connection to creativity and understanding of collaboration that I always leave the session inspired by them.
We have been working towards their showcase, a show that started with a short piece of devising from a prompt set by me, that was inspired by Travelling Light Theatre’s adaptation of Belle and Sebastien. The prompt was: Forbidden relationships of any kind. As always, the young people blew me away with what they had devised, it somehow looked deeply into the injustices of our society, the way we have, throughout history, divided and ‘othered’ people, whilst also using humour to make their audience laugh. I knew instantly that this was the piece that should be developed for the showcase!
The show looked at a president that was creating division in the city of Greensville which would mean anyone with an outty belly button would lose all rights and be completely segregated from those with inny belly buttons.
One of the reasons I love working with Travelling Light is because their ethos is that the work is led by the young people, allowing me to support and guide what the young people want, and help them find the creative path for their work. We discussed and explored many endings, but the unanimous decision was that there should not be a happy ending! But the group was very clear that we should look at the root cause as to why this president was creating these restrictions, this division, a character who had been tormented by bullies as a child for not having a belly button!
On the day of the showcase the young people are completely ready and excited to perform, I take joy in the hour after they do their tech run and before they perform to friends and family, as they laugh with each, me and the team. Wanting to play game after game, energy so high they are bouncing off the walls, laughing at me as I make a fool of myself, showing moments of kindness and support to each other in the games. I look around and bring them into a circle a few of minutes before they head to the stage – I ask them how they are feeling: excited and nervous. I tell them how proud I am of them, and how grateful I am to be able to work with such incredible creative human beings.
And then it’s time for a pre-show ritual that I inherited from my first ever director: In a circle palms touching palms with the person on each side. I ask everyone to repeat after me – 100 times, 10 million times, 30 times, 3 thousand times….
And they are!
They take the stage and fill every corner of the room with themselves, leading the audience on an emotional journey that makes us laugh and brings tears to our eyes. As I stand at the back I get shivers down my spine, I can’t help but grin with pride.