But this year you are putting on an existing play?
Correct. DNA was first put on as part of the English National Theatre’s Young People Connections project in 2008. The actors you will be watching today are the first cohort of IB Theatre students at St. Andrews. Part of their course is to create original, collaboratively made theatre for performance. However, before the creative process can really ignite it is vital that they function as an ensemble - a cohesive, unified group of artists working towards a common creative goal. What better way to build this cohesion and unity than by putting on a play? In our final few rehearsals we’ve had a number of actors off sick, but it hasn’t halted us as there has always been someone who jumped into their place, knowing their lines and movements.
Why DNA by Dennis Kelly?
On the surface this is a play about a group of teenagers “playing god”. The text is fast and furious, the characters are dark and at times quite troubled - an exciting challenge for our well brought up young actors. Dig below the surface and this is a play that asks how many wrong things need to be done to make things right? Is it morally defensible to sacrifice an individual for the benefit of the group? Now take a step back, turn on BBC World or CNN and take an objective look at western foreign policy: how many bombs need to be dropped, invasions unleashed, wars on terror won, before “the people” are safe? Big questions. Just a little play.
Why are we sitting on steps round the back of the art block?
Our IB Theatre students are beginning to explore the concept of Site Specific Performance, where the space itself takes on such significance that it almost becomes another protagonist.
This isn’t a ‘real’ found space no, we’ve fabricated its authenticity as derelict, forgotten, urban, wasteland, but we wanted to pull our audience into it rather than let them ‘view’ it comfortably from a theatre seat. Audiences have a tendency to “own” theatres, the live relationship between performer and spectator is a dynamic and dangerous one, and by placing the audience inside the actor’s space, or the character’s space, their power is reduced. Their concentration is heightened. Their awareness is acute. The magic of theatre can begin.
This is a play about a bunch of misfit teenagers who don’t quite “fit in”, and hence without society’s guidance, make the decisions they do. The play wouldn’t make sense elevated on a perfect stage. This play had to happen ‘out of the way’, cut off from the main drag, in just the kind of place these teenagers would hang out.
If you are uncomfortable where you are sitting, if you can’t quite hear every word spoken because of a passing train or car - we don’t apologise - you are eavesdropping into this world - your cold, hard bottom will hopefully remind you of that. But we do hope you enjoy the ‘experience’.
Leah - Greta Hirschberg
Phil - Luca Mattana Besozzi
Jane Tate - Sophia Gianakis
Mary - Miranda Cortizo
Jan - Abril Caselli
Lou - Belen Dasso
Briana - Mora Fossati
Cathy - Sophia Oxenford
Elizabeth - Serena Salzman
Anna - Ana Benna
Director - Oliver Proctor and the cast
Trailer - Chloé Martin, Marcus Hogg, Marcus Moneta
(The trailer was a completely student led interdisciplinary piece of work between IB Theatre and IB Film students)
Teaser campaign, poster design, programme, graffiti - all done by the ever brilliant and enormously talented Visual Arts team:
...and cast members
Special thanks to
Sheldon Guenther for so expertly turning a blind eye each time he heard a graffiti spray can being shaken.
Matias Tarrio for helping with the sound
Luciana for her guidance with the trailer and assistance with the lighting
Eber, Victor and Juan for rigging the lighting
Sebastian Elizondo for helping with the sound
I really enjoyed working as a group this past months. The play was great and we could create an amazing environment which transmitted to the audience our "bad teenagers" vibe. I loved playing the roles we played because they were a challenge for all of us, since we are not used to this type of gangs. It was also a great way to get together as a theatre ensemble and collaborate together.
I enjoyed so much this experience. This was a unique opportunity, and I think I took great advantage of it. We were able to create a different atmosphere than usual. We created “our space” in a fun and creative way. Making part of this play was much more than just acting on it. We developed stage, we promoted the play, we took care of costumes and makeup. With all this thing we created a really good play and I feel very proud of what we were capable of.
This long journey towards our grand play was absolutely exciting and unforgettable. As it was the first IB theatre play, we had lots of pressure nevertheless, we made our debut in and absolutely different, fun and demagogue way. Us, the first ten theatre students,who graffitied everywhere around school and dressed up as a gang, left the audience astonished. We learned how to cooperate, improvise,develop our character and more. We took extra time rehearsing and polishing every detail we could. We were the ones who did something different, for the very first time in the school history. The exploration of IB theatre has just started for us, and this collaborative project left us more than ready for next years course.