Friday, July 22, 2005

Back to School

We've been reviving Uniforms and Hoodies, the Education piece we created for Patti Smith's Meltdown, with the kids at Lilian Baylis School in Lambeth (see ). Two days re-rehearsal, and two performances for the rest of the school. I'm not sure it's the best way to do things: there was such a big high for the performers after their Festival Hall performance, and it would be a shame if that were eclipsed in their memories by a more hurriedly rehearsed, technically messy show with a less enthusiastic audience. On the other hand, it's very good for the rest of the school to see a real piece of protest theatre with music and video, which is talking about the real concerns of their age group, and makes those concerns political.

As before with this group, 90% of the time and energy goes in crowd control - but it's all put into perspective at the end of the show, when the Headmaster has to get up and explain to everybody that the local tube has been closed because of a bomb. A bit odd to hear him talking about how they must be respectful to the police who are dealing with this, just after he's been praising a rather anti-police bit of theatre.

For me, the really interesting outcome of this project has been the discovery about form. The piece is somewhere between drama, rock concert and video installation. I really like the way songs and scenes move in and out of one another, commenting without the music-theatre cliches of characters bursting into song. It makes the whole thing very much of the teenagers' world, but still allows it to be immediate and powerful. I'm wondering if we shouldn't try to create something like this as a public project for young audiences - a club night with theatre.

With these thoughts mulling round in my head, I go to the V&A for the launch of the Mayor's Commission's Report on African and Asian Heriatge. Lots of very exciting African musicians and DJs there. I remember that Third World Bunfight has been experimenting with Club Nights recently..... ( Hum..... Then we all get harangued from the platform for talking too much during the two hours of speeches. Reach for another glass of champagne.

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