Aren Goetcherian, Young Journalist, rounds up Day 4 of Connections at the NT
On Saturday we were privileged enough to see two more examples of great writing and great performances. ‘Victim Sidekick Boyfriend Me’, performed by Marine Academy Plymouth, looked at the ability to slip through the cracks after doing something wrong, and the consequences of doing so, while ‘Socialism is Great’, performed by Group 64, from London, looked at the widely varying ideals and realities amongst the different classes of modern day China. Both plays were specially written for the Connections Festival, but, perhaps more importantly, both plays were specifically written to be played by young people.
While the youth of the UK are so often criticised, the Connections Festival aims to celebrate youth theatre, and Saturday’s performances certainly proved testament to the hard work of young people. Hilary Bell (writer of ‘Victim Sidekick Boyfriend Me’) said it was ‘a real privilege’ to be able to work in conjunction with the Connections Festival, and with such promising young performers. Anders Lustgarten (writer of ‘Socialism is Great’) told me how satisfying it was to see young people performing in a professional context. ‘There was no ego, no nonsense’ he told me after the performance. The Connections Festival as a whole, however, certainly shows the enthusiasm of young people, and shows how opportunities like this are essential in encouraging this hard work. Both writers expressed how incredible an opportunity the Festival is, not only for the young people, but also for themselves as writers, neither having written a play exclusively for young people before this. It makes me wish there were already more plays that youth theatre groups could grab and use, and tweak into their own visions.
|Socialsim is Great, Photo: Simon Annand|
|Victim, Sidekick, Boyfriend, Me, Photo: Simon Annand|
For writers and performers alike, therefore, it seems that the National Theatre’s Connections Festival provides a fantastic opportunity to blow many stereotypes of young people away, and simultaneously breath some new life into the world of theatre. It was refreshing for me to see young people perform with such enthusiasm and professionalism, while never forgetting to enjoy the experience.