Straight back to work and a chance to dress rehearse the new piece of work we've put together for the Youth Crime Conference with Richmond Police tomorrow. We're expecting to play to around 400 year nine students. Katie's been running rehearsals whilst I've been away and tonight was a final chance for an invited audience of students to put the cast through their paces.
Although the focus of the play has changed this year from anti-social behaviour to carrying weapons, the same basic issue of peer group pressure is at the core of the work. It's a thin line to tread, we neither want to patronise teenagers nor sensationalise knife crime, but in the end I think the team have created a scenario that feels both authentic enough to engage with and complicated enough to cause the audience to make some difficult choices.
The piece is slightly complicated in one scene where James, the protagonist, encouraged by his friends, verbally abuses his mother, to the point where she leaves the room in tears. Protagonist turns antagonist at this moment and we hope that for some in the audience that this dramatic change will prompt an immediate intervention. The situation can, with some careful diplomacy, we suggest, be avoided and the incident has a resonance with the main body of the play in that it asks questions about loyalty and self-esteem. I think the best forum work always occurs when the audience can empathise with both parties and the best rehearsals reveal strategies for moving forward rather than a definate blueprint.
We ran for a couple of hours with some excellent interventions, which really gave a great warm up and preparation for the morning.