FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW
by Angie Farrow
directed by Nigel Edgecombe
at BATS Theatre, Wellington
From 23 Feb 2013 to 27 Feb 2013
Reviewed by: John Smythe;
Follow, Follow, Follow could be described as a piece of dystopian surrealism, as it is set in a vaguely disturbing imagined world (possibly present), yet the piece is also comic and provides wonderful openings for physical theatre.
Brief synopsis: Six children at the age of four were removed from their parents and placed in a secure environment, where they have grown and developed for the last twelve years without outside input. These young people are now sixteen and have created an environment in which all societal norms are dispensed with.
Follow, Follow, Follow therefore raises questions about what exactly is normal behaviour, normal youth development, normal social interaction. Further, the show combines absurdism with elements of startling realism. There are some wonderfully farcical moments as these innocents try to understand their world, as for example when the young people carefully count the hairs on one of the boy's chins, trying to figure out why there are more than there were previously. Beside the comedy, the story has very poignant moments as the young characters wrestle with their relationships and sexual jealousies. The indeterminacy of their future (will they/can they leave their room?) will haunt the audience for a very long time.
Follow, Follow, Follow was written by award winning playwright Dr Angie Farrow several years ago. At the time it was work-shopped, then performed in a group of secondary schools in the Manawatu.
The original performers were actors aged in their early 20s, which lacked authenticity. Director Nigel Edgecombe wanted to produce this play for some time but didn't have suitable actors in the right age bracket. Finally after five years the “actors' gods” were looking kindly on him and provided six exceptional young actors, with the right mix of experience, awards and confidence to bring this play alive. The whole cast are aged between 16 and 17 years old, but don't let their lack of wrinkles fool you.
The cast contains a regional winner of the Otago University Shakespeare competition; the leading lady from ‘The Wizard of Oz' and previous Fringe performer; a lead in ‘The Boyfriend' and Gilbert and Sullivan ‘Pirates' chorus member; the list goes on. In total this young cast have over 40 different stage appearances between them, and two of the cast are already developing audition pieces for national and international drama schools. They are young, they are talented, they are motivated, and they have the authenticity needed for Follow, Follow, Follow.
Director Nigel Edgecombe applied for the 2013 Fringe Festival and for a season at BATS Theatre and was accepted for both. ”This has been a fantastic script for the cast to develop, as the play provides them opportunities to express themselves more freely than society normally allows. Without giving too much away, let's just say that the cast have been having a huge amount of fun, exploring the story and ignoring how they are ‘supposed' to behave.”
Nigel Edgecombe's background includes a BA in Theatre, an MPhil in English (for which he wrote a thesis on the work of theatre director Robert Lepage), a Graduate Diploma in Teaching, and he was the first person in NZ to obtain the Directing Diploma through Toi Whakaari. Nigel has taught high school drama, has tutored at the NZ Youth Drama School, and also tutored courses at Massey University. Additionally, Nigel has adjudicated at Regional level for the Sheilah Winn National Shakespeare Festival, has previously directed three shows for the Fringe Festival, and in 2010 adjudicated the Trans-Tasman Theatre Festival. He began working in professional theatre 25 years ago, performs whenever he can, and his directorial work has been seen in three countries.
The Crew involved in Follow Follow Follow enhances the skills and experience of the cast: Lighting Designer, Lighting/Sound Operator is Lydia Easter who has just completed a Certificate in Lighting/Sound from Whitireia. Lydia has worked in 2012 doing lighting on ‘The Hobbit', and part-time for Metro Productions.
Design Mentor is Lisa Maule who has BA in Art History and a Bachelor of Design from Victoria. Lisa is presently Acting HOD at Toi Whakaari in Lighting Design and Production Management.
Marketing/Publicity/FOH is Crystal Mischief who has a National Certificate in Radio, a Certificate in Commercial Broadcasting, and a BA in Political Science and Criminology. Crystal is experienced in producing and marketing sell out shows, award ceremonies, graduations and corporate conferences. In 2012 she was publicist for Part Time Prostitute which won the Comedy Category for the 2012 Fringe Awards.
Follow, Follow, Follow
at BATS Theatre, Corner of Dixon Street and Cuba Street
from 23rd to the 27th of February at 6.30pm.
Bookings: www.bats.co.nz $16/13