Friday, November 14, 2008

Blackout rehearsals

I've just finished rehearsing today with 5 brilliant young actors from the Citizens Young Co.

Rea, Kat, Martin, I miss you all.

But it's also been great working with Keira, Claire and Scott - who join James and Fraser from the original cast - on this new version of Blackout.

Next week we take the play to 9 different schools, all across Glasgow. So it will be seen by pure hunners of young folk. And we'll get them all discussing the issues raised by the play.

I can't wait.

The story is about a 15-year-old boy called James who wakes up one day in a jail cell and discovers that he's getting charged with attempted murder. Then he tries to figure out how he got there.

It's based on the real life experiences of a young guy who was being mentored by Barnardo's in Glasgow when the National Theatre phoned them up and said they were looking for people to get involved in a project called Theatre of Debate. They wanted to create some short plays about the most serious challenges facing young people today. Things like teenager pregnancy, homelessness, unemployment and violent crime.

So they asked me to go and interview this young man. And when I met him, I was shocked by how eloquently he spoke about what had happened to him and what he thought about it now. It made me really want his voice to be heard. So I wrote this play based mostly on his own words.

Then I got in touch with Citizens Learning and TAG to ask them if I could work with some of their young actors...

A few weeks later they were on the Lyttelton stage at the National Theatre in London!

That was the easy bit.

Now we are showing it to a bunch of school kids (and their teachers) very close to where the play is set.

I have to admit, I'm slightly nervous.


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