National Theatre Connections Team quote …
“Welcome to Connections 2014 and another year of fantastic youth theatre across the Uk and beyond…we hope you are looking forward as much as we are to the adventure ahead and the unique experience that Connections offers everyone involved…”
(230 youth and school theatre companies – 10 plays – one unforgettable performance)
” Connections gives you the chance to make Great Theatre…you get to stage a brand new play specially written for young actors age 13-19. Your company gets the chance to perform in your HOME VENUE and at a Festival with other Connections Companies.”
(PACE’s Time to Act)
” Connections provides a wide variety of learning opportunities for the young people involved – not just as performers but in every aspect of staging a production…
(Another year to shine)
” …together we can support young people to develop their skills and talent in Theatre – and inspire and entertain audiences across the country…”
” we look forward to working with you.”
(HERITAGE is coming for You)
PACE V HERITAGE
( the following is a dramatised and fictitious conversation based on actual anecdotes, advice, musings and general witty conversation delivered by Mr James at the National Theatre’s Director’s Weekend Conference that PACE attended in November, held at the NT Studios, The Cut, London – a chance to meet the playwright in person and to discuss the ideas behind and for this exciting new play – artistic license is strongly in evidence! )
– Step forward the “playwright” accused ….state your name for the record …
– what is your state?
” ooo…Welsh National”
-what is your person?
“an award winning writer , composer and performer”
– And what is your Connections 14 play?
– let the record show that Dafydd James has written this year’s play Heritage for National Theatre Connections 2014
“may I say something ?”
– will it make a difference to this theatrical case ?
– then speak! We are all ears …
” thank you …then as you are all ears …I know you will listen!”
– what is your defence in writing this play?
” honestly? I just had to…”
– what was the trigger ?
” the trigger?”
– the start point for the drama
” so many things… but I suppose the drama centres on one time and place”
– and what is that ?
“…well …it’s May Day you see… and a group of Misfit children …I say children but they are grown up enough to know what is happening …I’ll get to that later…it’s May Day and these…young slightly ‘unique’ people …are specially chosen to close the day’s festivities…celebrations you know? …in the village. Singing and dancing and…stuff”
” there’s a lot goes on …”
” let’s just say that is open to interpretation…there is a lot inferred …
– Artistic license?
” the workshop process will reveal a lot”
“…where was I …oh yes…but as they gather together…in their uniform…”
– uniform ?
“they have to wear a uniform see because it is part of their society…a kind of place gone mad really…anyways..they are rehearsing the village anthem …you’ve heard it have you? Sounds happy but it is really ‘over the top’! All pomp and Sound of Music really. The words are crackin…
– is there a point to this ?
” yes totally …because all is not well…all is not as it should be…like I said …lot goes on ”
– and ?
” and there’s this lad who is hiding a cat.
– a cat?
“a cat yes… a dead cat …well it might be…we don’t know for sure …it’s in his bag see;”
– that’s curious
” oh yes…and there’s a bonkers girl too… who is grieving her Nanna and this one boyo who has turned up as a Stegosaurus!”
– a what?
” a stegosaurus ….a dinosaur …you know like in Jurassic Park !”
– go on…
” well that’s it really …the rehearsal breaks down , and they soon begin…the young people that is…to suspect that they’ve been chosen”
– chosen? For what?
” chosen for a darker purpose”
– hunger games?
” your thoughts not mine”
– but the premise of this play sounds a bit ridiculous!
” ridiculous? No! Dramatic…really!”
– explain your self
” you see when I was young I used to take part in this big national drama competition back in Wales. Eisteddfod? Have you heard of it?
” it is the largest welsh speaking festival of music, literature and performance in Wales! You have the Mod in Scotland don’t you ? Is that what you call it?”
– and the relevance of this digression with THIS play is?
” that a few years ago I was asked to be a judge at one of the drama events at Eisteddfod and when it came to announcing the winner, me and this woman…she was also a judge…had agreed I would present the Awards to the winners…”
” so I wasn’t allowed see…”
– because of tradition and some stupid rule laid down in past Eisteddfod generations – I was not allowed …it had to be her…or it wouldn’t be the same”
– you have lost me
” bear with me …it’s all in the subtext ….so as a writer …I got thinking about power and rules and beaurocratic stuff like that…things like nationalism and how we often become what we are through the rules and customs of our cultural traditions – that society can shape us through the conditions it places on us – the control it tries to exert over us in certain situations – and the fear of breaking these customs and traditions is what makes us fear others and fear change , fear outsiders …very relevant in Northbridge!
– Northbridge ?
“…the place I set the play”
– is the North part significant?
” isn’t every north/ south divide !”
– go on
“…fear often causes society to stagnate or becomes what one group of people only want it to be …to remain the same here on in for future generation…”
– that’s surely one’s heritage ?
” exactly…hence the title …it is our heritage that often defines us …who we can sometimes become based on the values, rules , boundaries, traditions, customs and culture placed on us at birth.”
– but what relevance is this to the young people doing this play other than something to just act ?
“A heritage is innate in us all as humans – we are part of something we often know little of and yet we live our lives as if we are free of its power – but there are much more powerful people in charge of our lives all along…making decisions for us …shaping our future lives… Our own national identity even.”
– we live in Scotland
“does that make you Scottish?”
– May be …perhaps we all will be by the end of 2014
” but maybe being Scottish is something most people never think about until it comes to having to declare their national identity – their heritage? Do we know what being Scottish or English or Welsh really means? What is Nationalism and who controls it …we know what happens when Nationalism gets out of hand …wars begin…lives changed forever
– so this play is less comical than it would outwardly appear
” black comedy pushes a whole different set of theatre buttons”
– black comedy – now there’s a theatrical oxymoron
” I hope so …I hope the young people realise that in performing this Theatre piece there is a darker message in its light heartedness that audiences may only see, when they as young actors create a world totally unlike their own ..with it’s own unique heritage and stronger forces at play.”
– powerful stuff
” power is what makes good Youth Theatre what it is …”
– and power in the wrong hands makes the subject of Heritage what it is?
” the exact point of my writing this play”
– the characters are diverse and some seem a bit extreme?
” aren’t we all extreme in some ways… these characters came from my life…from my youth …my school days…my…
– This play seems like such a great challenge
“creating something truly unique always is”
– and the anthem?
” the anthem is yours to do with as you will…”
– an “anthem for doomed youth” maybe ?
” each to their own interpretation of the events”
– the main event is clear is it not ?
” if you are thinking as I am then yes..”
– it is all heading in the same dark hearted direction
” have fun then”
– we shall
” can’t wait to see what your Heritage will become in 2014″
– now there’s a “double play” if ever was intended.
” ever the satirist”
– the accused is artistically free to go.
Now all CREATIVELY RISE!
( more to follow)