Youth Theatre Blog | NT Connection's Class, Director's Blog

Tue 19 February, 2019

Youth Theatre Blog | NT Connection's Class, Director's Blog

Class

Director's Blog: The Play and How We've Got Started

 

NST Youth Theatre are extremely excited to be participating in the National Theatre’s Connections festival once again! This time around, we have been given the play Class, a script that explores social dynamics and class relations within the microcosm of a classroom over one lunch break.

 

Chloe and Oli are both running for student President, with manifestos that both intend on enhancing the student experience but that go about this in very different ways. The dialogue that follows mirrors what we see of our political system. It questions whether we as people can have relationships with others that transcend ‘social class’, and how individuals best represent a larger body of people without focusing on personal gain. Class feels more and more topical right now in 2019, with each new BBC News notification prompting an eye roll and a sigh at how far away from the people our political system is moving.

The events of the play unfold in real time, with all of the performers present for all of the action. Due to the nature and naturalism of the play, the early stages of our rehearsal process have focused heavily on developing characters that are nuanced and believable.

What is particularly interesting working with young people on a play that is seemingly about young people, is that they live in a world that’s quite different to the one we grew up in (me less so than Liam, our Youth Theatre Director…). Class continues to reinforce this idea that social media allows people to hide behind a screen, and more importantly what social media means for an individual’s idea of an ‘authentic self’. Online messenger conversations add to the texture of the play so we decided to ask all of our actors to build Instagram profiles for their characters, working on what they would put as their username and bio – through this, we explored 1) what the characters thought of themselves, 2) the ‘self’ each character wanted to put forward and 3) who and how they might interact with others online. And, thanks to one of our fantastic Youth Theatre members, Charlotte, we’ve been able to bring these to life in the below images!

In our efforts to facilitate our actors creating naturalistic characters, we have used lots of different situational improvisation exercises to allow them to really understand their character, how they would respond in specific circumstances and how they feel about the other characters on stage. Improvisation might seem like a scary exercise, but it really makes a lot of difference when you’re putting together your character.

The rehearsal room has been a place of sharing and learning for the past month or so – it has been fun and hugely rewarding (and also a little bit manic….) creating this show so far. We’re all really excited to see how the characters and the show develops over the next few weeks before we get to show it to an audience at NST and then in Bognor Regis!

 

Performances are from 28th to 30th March, in NST City's Studio Theatre! Click the button below to find out more and book your tickets.

Class

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