Posted by Georgina Trevor
Posted on 11 April 2012
I love theatre. I love talking about theatre, watching theatre and being in theatre. I studied theatre at school, college and at university. I have worked in the theatre as a practitioner and I have tread the boards at the Exeter Nothcott, The Old Vic and The Tobacco Factory. So imagine my delight when I heard that Creative Youth Network's Physical Theatre group would be creating a performance with The Bristol Old Vic!
I first met the Physical Theatre group one chilly November evening; I came in to their workshop to do some games and activities. The group stood out to me as being incredibly passionate and keen. I hardly needed to use any gentle persuasion to get them started and away from the tempting radiators at all! There was a sense that this group already had a great energy, they cared not only about creating a good piece of theatre, but also about each other.
As the weeks rolled on I would hear great reviews from Ben and other staff about the work that was being produced and I would see little snippets of information going up on facebook and the website. When the performance day arrived it was a beautiful sunny Saturday in March. I arrived at the Old Vic accompanied by some on my theatre loving friends. The studio was packed; I had to sit right at the front to get a seat.
The performance started and the young actors stood facing their audience, I noticed a few trembling hands and a slight wobble in the first spoken words, the result of a nervous energy I am only too familiar with! The first lines are always the hardest and after some genuine 'LOL's' from their audience they were off! The show was fairly short but what surprised me was how well the actors got across a sense of character in this time. Each of them was different and each of them was strong. They presented themes of heartache, excitement, naivety, resentment, bullying and jealously all painted with an irresistible coat of youthful humour! I was reminded frequently of my own adolescence and I would defy anyone who could watch and not find some common ground with the growing pains presented on stage.
The scenes were pacey and swift but executed with fantastic precision and elegance, even when presenting chaos on stage, as an audience member you never felt that the control was anywhere other than in hand. Some scenes focused more on movement than on dialogue and the combination of the two was captivating to watch. At other times in the show it was very dialogue heavy with snapshots of the young people socialising with friends at home. It was during one of these scenes that I became aware that I was not laughing, I was in fact cackling! It was almost a ROFL! I found the characters so endearing and funny that I had forgotten the theatre etiquette of softly laughing to myself and was indulging in the kind of antisocially loud laughter I usually reserve for close friends and family.
As well as being captivating and hilarious, the show also left me with food for thought. Although I recognised some of the growing pains I saw in the show; the break ups, the insecurities, the excitement, the experimentation I had not experienced these things with the relentless eyes of social media on me. With the assistance of facebook bullying is not just something that happens at school, there is no escape from your peers. You’re every thought and movement is put on stage for all to see and every mistake and awkward phase is intensified by it being shared with hundreds of others.I left the theatre with a tummy ache from laughing so hard but also with a nagging worry in my head about the effects of anti-social networking on our young people today and how these phenomena will continue to develop.
My Theatre accomplices had this to say:
“It was a confident display of the bittersweet world that is social networking. Hard work and dedication mixed with moments of pure comedy” Zoe Davies
"Notification was a real triumph of youthful indulgence and our over-dependence of our beloved social platforms. Without people, social platforms are nothing. Without social platforms, this play wouldn't exist, which would be a real shame. It was that good! Like the social aspects it portrayed, Notification was full of engagement, humour and some keen imagery it shone the spotlight neatly on youthful and humourous highs and crashing lows." Ross Densley
Click here to see the photograph's of the event...