Student Ambassador, Shania Waterson, reviews the fourth night of Connections - in which both CAST Ensemble and Derby Youth Theatre performed their entries. Stay tuned for more reviews throughout the week!
Friday night’s Connections show consisted of two performances: When They Go Low and [Blank]. Both young companies did a superb job in these performances and highlighted some key issues within society that need to be spoken about more.
When They Go Low explored sexism within schools and how difficult it is for teens to connect with politics and societal issues. The story begins with a photo being sent round of Sarah at a party and everyone starts to wonder what exactly happened. All of the girls are pulled into an assembly at school to have a lecture on presenting yourself ‘respectfully’, but this angers Louise as she wonders why the boys are not having the same lecture and why the group of boys who took the photo are not being punished. She decides to challenge Scott at his claim to the school captain title, but this backfires. Scott makes a website, rating the girls on their appearance, so Louise organises a march to give the girls a chance to stand up and say they won’t put up with being treated as a piece of meat. But again, this backfires when the boys throw eggs at them during the march. Louise’s final push for equal rights within the school is a society that is open to everyone to discuss what isn’t right within the school and how they can fight it, but when the boys retaliate by shaming the girls on the website, Louise is quick to shut down the society and call it quits. The play ends with Scott winning school captain, but Louise gives an inspirational speech, initially to her classmates but then to the audience, about not standing for everyday sexism, becoming a feminist, and when they go low, you go high.
[Blank] was performed by Derby Youth Theatre. The play consists of 50-60 scenes and no character names. Derby Youth Theatre chose several scenes from the play and created their own story from it. The story followed a brother and sister who had to look after their alcoholic mum. The actors used jackets to distinguish who was playing the brother and sister at what time. The scenes portrayed the struggles that both of them go through each day, such as having feed her and hope she doesn’t throw up, and contacting her boss to say that she can’t come into work. Along with looking after her and their own school work, they worried about household things getting done, such as the cooking and cleaning, and paying the bills whilst their mum isn’t going into work. The play finished with a fast-forward to the sister being pregnant and going to her mum’s for dinner. She finished with a heart-breaking speech about how she could only manage to say ‘okay’ because she never had a relationship with her mum and never got a proper childhood.
Overall, both companies put on a fantastic show and were clearly enjoyable for the audience. Both plays touched on really important subject and will hopefully start to create conversations about societal issues that need to be dealt with.
Find out more about the festival as a whole, including our workshop day , happening today, here.