Destinations : 3 large cast plays for young people

Megarrity, David (2015) Destinations : 3 large cast plays for young people. Playlab Press, Brisbane, Australia.

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Abstract

This book is a collection of three large-cast plays written in response to a very specific problem. My work as a teacher of drama often required me to locate a script that would somehow miraculously work for a cast of unknown number and gender, and most likely uneven skills and enthusiasm, who I hadn’t even met yet. It’s a familiar dilemma for teachers and students of drama in education contexts, at whatever level you’re teaching. I’d first addressed this creative problem with scripts such as Gate 38 (2010).

I had tried using scripts that already existed, but found they required such extensive editing to suit the parameters of cast and performance duration that I may as well have been writing them myself. Even in the setting of a closed studio, in altering these plays I felt I was bending the vision of the playwright, and certainly their narrative structure, out of shape.

Everyone who’s attempted to stage a performance with a large cast of students in an educational setting knows it takes time to truly connect with a play, its social contexts, themes and characters. It also takes a lot of time to get on top of the practicalities of learning, rehearsing, directing and running a performance with young people. Often the curtain goes up on something unfinished and unstable. I was looking for ways to reduce the complexity of staging a script, while maintaining the potential of this process as a site of rich, enjoyable learning.

Two of the plays (Duty Free and Please Be Seated) are comprised of multiple monologues, combined with music-driven ensemble sequences. The monologues enable individuals to develop and polish their own performances, work in small groups, and cut down on the laborious detail of directing naturalistic scenes based in character interaction. The third (Australian Drama) involves a lot of duologues, meaning that its rehearsal process can happily employ that mainstay of the drama classroom: small group work. There’s plenty of room to move in terms of gender-blind casting as well. Please be Seated is mainly young women.

The scripts also contain ensemble-based interludes which are non-verbal, music driven, with a choreographic element. They have also springboarded further explorations in form. The ethical and aesthetic complexities of verbatim works; the interaction between music and theatre; and meta-concerns related to the performing of performance: ‘how can the act of acting ‘acted’.

The narratives of all three of these plays are deliberately open, enabling the flexible casting and on-the hop editing that large-group, time-poor processes sometimes necessitate. Duty Free is about the overseas ‘adventures’ of young people. Please Be Seated is based in verbatim text about young people falling in and out of love. Australian Drama is about young people in a drama classroom trying to connect with each other and put their own shine on dull fragments of the theatrical canon.

The plays were published as a collection in hardcopy and digital editions by Playlab Press in 2015. Please be Seated is a co-write with a large group. These co-author’s names are listed in the publication, and below in ‘additional information’.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 89983
Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Please Be Seated (other contributors) Courtney Ammenhauser, Zoe Cobon, Virginia Difrancesco, Laura Duncan, Tahlia Holt, Renee Hunt, Sam Sheldon, Ella Livsey, Christene McPhee, Rebecca Robertson, Hannah Sutherland, Stephanie Tandy and Amy Wilkosz
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Playwriting, Large Cast, Theatre for Young People, Music and performance
ISBN: 9781921390937
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting) (190402)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Drama Theatre and Performance Studies (190404)
Divisions: Current > Schools > Drama
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Please Be Seated Copyright 2015 David Megarrity
Australian Copyright 2015 David Megarrity
Duty Free Copyright 2015 David Megarrity
Copyright Statement: This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of study, research or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. For education purposes the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10% of this book, whichever is greater to be copied, but only if the institution or educator is covered by a Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) licence. All inquiries should be made to the publisher at Playlab, PO Box 3701, South Brisbane B.C., QLD 4010. Email: info@playlab.org.au
Deposited On: 04 Nov 2015 22:37
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2016 05:50

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