The young actors of Shetland Youth Theatre are about to perform their latest production, and following their foray into a gigantic fish tank last summer have opted this time for the relatively traditional venue of Quarff Hall. However the company has not lost sight of its mission to explore the boundaries of the theatre experience and promise that the new production will be just as innovative as past presentations.
The company is performing Too Fast by the Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell. The performance is part of NT Connections, the largest festival of youth theatre in the world in which ten top contemporary playwrights are commissioned by the National theatre to write scripts specifically for youth theatre companies. Douglas, who is probably best known for the phenomenally successful Decky does a Bronco came to Shetland last year with Anthony Banks from the National Theatre to work with Shetland Youth Theatre on the development of Too Fast and the company is delighted to be performing the work for an audience.
The play centres around ‘Sensation Nation’ a vocal group founded and led by the unstoppable DD. Her grand plan is for the group to storm next year’s Britain’s Got Talent. But first they need a gig, and more importantly a heartbreaking back-story that will win them votes later on down the line. So she’s arranged for them to sing at a funeral. And not just any funeral either. ‘Sensation Nation’ is to sing at the funeral of Ali Monroe, an older girl from their school who was killed in a car crash. The play is poignant and, at times, comic with a strong emotional heart
Commenting on the production, director John Haswell said; “the play is set backstage at the funeral. The audience share the tensions that the characters experience before their debut performance. We have decided to explore this aspect fully and for the audience to literally eavesdrop on what is going on in another room. As well as the formal funeral space and the backstage room there is also a huge theatrical reveal in the final scene which adds a completely new dimension to the piece. The intention is to fully explore the theatrical opportunities the script offers and totally engage the audience in the world of the play. To this end we are making full use of the technical skills of David Wagstaff as well as the musical talents of both Philip Taylor and Deidre Hayward”
The National Theatre is sending a director from London to see the performance in Quarff and Shetland Youth Theatre has been invited to present the production at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre in June. “Because of the technical demands of the production the transfer will be interesting to say the least,” commented Mr Haswell. “I think we might present the technical crew at the Lyceum with some interesting challenges but we’ve been there before and they know that when it comes to Shetland Youth Theatre they can expect the unexpected.”
Too Fast will be performed on Tuesday 22nd March and Wednesday 23rd March. The show is an hour long and tickets priced £6 / £4 (concessions) are available from Shetland Box Office (01595 745555). Shetland Arts advise that the production is not suitable for primary aged schoolchildren