What do you get when you take the best Drama performances from the 2009 Higher School Certificate, jam them into a 2 hour session and invite schools from far and wide to attend A spectacular showcase of talent known as OnSTAGE.
The Seymour Centre plays host to OnSTAGE ; an annual production of the best HSC Drama performances. Each piece is unique, portraying various views and opinions. It is important to note that the young performers have directed and some have even written their pieces and I must complement them on the extremely high standard.
Two highlights of OnStage I would like to share in detail are those of The Cause, My Soul from Barker College and Killing Time by Sydney Girls High School. Both of these acts show not only talent and dedication, but also how diverse and different concepts, ideas, scripts and opinions can make great theatre.
The Cause, My Soul is a theatrical piece by Barker College. Christopher Jones, Lucy O??™Brien, Adelle Perry and Ryan Yeomans tell the true tale of the first South African production of Othello, giving us the show as well as the ???real??™ goings on surrounding the production of the play. Fed by issues concerning racism, there is a lot of tension but this was broken by moments of focus, both serious and humorous. For example, when the two male actors act antagonistic, then suddenly become excited and joyous.
The production took a ???less is more??™ approach in regards to design which I believe to be an excellent decision, as the performance is very physical.
The storyline was gripping, consistent and easy to follow and unexpectedly clear, considering the ???play within a play??™ concept, which is often difficult to articulate.
I have never before seen such conviction and belief in character from such young actors. The way in which they convinced was astounding, especiallyconsidering that each actor had multiple roles.
This clever quad have used a minimalistic approach, using only a few props and using each prop multiple times. The first part of the performance enlisted the use of a drum, which was tossed from person to person and primarily used to set the rhythm of the scene. The use of such an item was effective, however it drew our focus from the plot to the person playing the drum. Nonetheless, the set was extremely appropriate considering the physical acting and their vast use of space.
Lighting was kept to a fully lit stage; however, this did not encroach on the performance as I thought it might. The team had an uncanny way of focusing the audience, which really needs to be seen to be believed.
Normally, one has to wonder the purpose or morale of theatre, except The Cause, My Soul. I could tell the purpose was to enlighten, and that is why it has become my favourite piece of the day
Killing Time is a clever, engaging and original piece of theatre which performed exclusively by Ruby Cornish, Harriet Hope Streeter and Sarah Zikmann. This piece is a tragic account of the day to day repetition and rituals of three Jane Does. These girls have lost their lives as well as their names and to add insult to injury time begins to take memories, personalities and sanity.
Personally, I wasn??™t a huge fan of the performance. There was something about the atmosphere surrounding the stage that seemed hostile, which prevented the audience from fully engaging and reacting, as if they were scared to participate. This is by no means the fault of the actors as I believe the script had new, original content and concept that we, as an audience are not used to.
The characters were convincing to a certain degree, as they never broke focus or missed a line. However I didn??™t believe that these actors were ???Jane Doe??™, seeing that I couldn??™t spot or feel the assurance of that character.
Away from the atmosphere of the stage, alot of things worked well. The lighting was very well thought out, and added a nice touch which we saw in the opening sequence with three boxes of light resembling morgue trays. Their use of space was somewhat limited, only using the centre of the stage. Their costume was creepy, using blood-stained clothes which complemented the theme of the play entirely!
OnStage has gone above and beyond my expectations, surprising, gladdening and all round entertaining. Bring on 2011!
OnStage will be performing at the Seymour Centre from 6-12 February 2010.