Review: Youth And Destination (Manifesto Theatre Company)

Venue: Kings Cross Theatre (Kings Cross NSW), Apr 27 – May 12, 2018
Playwright: James Raggatt
Director: James Raggatt
Cast: Jack Angwin, Georgia Blizzard, Gloria Bose, Julia Christensen, Maree Cole, Skyler Ellis, Alex Malone, Bardiya McKinnon, Nikita Waldron, Ross Walker
Images by Emily Havea

Theatre review
There is no conventional narrative in James Raggatt’s Youth And Destination, only a series of short sequences that offer insight into his young mind. The brevity of scenes allows the playwright to touch on a broad range of topics over the course of an hour, but the format prevents sufficient depth from being reached, aside from occasional dialogue that might inspire a sense of intrigue that encourages us to see beyond the mundane.

There is much to admire in the young; they are often inquisitive, passionate and fearless. Wisdom, although never restricted to the mature, can however be elusive. On this occasion, thoughts expressed are honest and very earnest, but the lack of life experience is evident, and Raggatt’s attempts at circumspection will not be able to satisfy every member of audience. Some nonetheless, will see themselves accurately reflected, in this work by young people, for young people.

An exceedingly pleasant group of actors prove themselves accomplished, with no fiction to perform but instead, putting on stage a convincing semblance of the self. In the absence of more complex story lines, their task is to make compelling, snippets of modernity, whether banal or extraordinary. Star of the show is not an actor, but lighting designer Martin Kinnane, whose aesthetic inventiveness and technical excellence, bring to the production a necessary polish, along with rigorous calibrations of mood, from scene to scene.

The young can tell us so much about the world, but pinning down the meaning of life, is not usually their strongest suit. Youth And Destination is a sensitive work, slightly overcautious with how it wishes to be perceived. Whether young or old, we all have to grapple with how others look upon us; we are so fundamentally social. It is incumbent on the artist however, to be courageous, and to always be revealing of their own truth, especially that which is unique and idiosyncratic in quality. Few can claim to speak for communities, but when we return to the individual in an exhaustive and meticulous way, what we say about the personal can become unimaginably significant.

www.kingsxtheatre.com.au

5 Questions with Gloria Bose and Nikita Waldron

Gloria Bose

Nikita Waldron: What are some obstacles you have had to face as a person of your background coming in the industry?
Gloria Bose: Easy – diversity and representation, not only within my race but class, age, education, sexuality and being of this time. It can be quite disheartening when I do find monologues and it’s either an African American woman suffering from domestic violence or a Rwandan prostitute raising her bastard child in the civil war. Like, those are my choices?… (I used the above monologues to get into drama school)

What’s your favourite warm up tongue twister?
I don’t do tongue twisters, but rattling off consonants, sirening and Y-buzzing (Arthur Lessac) are my go-tos.

If you could swap careers with any actor who would it be and why?
Eddie Murphy! I’m particularly interested in his longevity and variety of his career. From stand-up in the 80s, to movies, he’s released an album, produced his own films, voice overs for the Shrek instalments, playing numerous characters in The Nutty Professor and then all those swing & a miss movies – building a career to have agency to create.

What’s the best thing about working with such an eclectic bunch of young actors?
Difference of opinion and having insight from all walks of life. It’s been great to hear all these offers, some come to fruition and others get left on the rehearsal room floor.

What’s it been like to work with a brand new piece of writing?
Challenging in all the best ways. It’s funny because I don’t find it brand new. James has been working on this play for about 3-4yrs and I remember going to readings in 2015, 16, 17 and now
2018 I’m in it – I think it’s spent enough time on paper and I’m excited for its time onstage.

Nikita Waldron

Gloria Bose: Are you the type of person, who’s about the journey or the destination?
Nikita Waldron: Someone once told me that if I was going to embark on an acting career, I’d have to enjoy the journey otherwise I’d be deeply disappointed by the destination, and it’s probably the most valuable advice I’ve ever gotten. Having said that…a good destination is hugely motivating. Especially on a path like this.

Describe your youth in three words?
Redskins. Literature. Daydreaming.

If you could have one thing change tomorrow, what would it be?
I’d change the President of the United States. Or I’d end global warming. But I think the first issue would definitely put us on track to combat the second.

What is one misconception of being a woman of colour?
The biggest misconception? That I think of it as a disadvantage in this industry. Or worse as an advantage. The truth is, I don’t really think about my skin colour that often. I’ve grown up in a household where it was drilled into me that with hard work almost anything is possible. Period. I’ve got my parents to thank for that. While I’m thrilled that there are more opportunities in the arts for people who look different, I hope that one day it’ll be so normal that we won’t have to talk about it.

If you had to take me on a date, what/where would it be?
I’d fly you to Queenstown in New Zealand (near where my Dad grew up) for a Fergburger. They’re the best burgers in the world – you can quote me on that.

Gloria Bose and Nikita Waldron are appearing in Youth & Destination, by James Raggatt.
Dates: 27 April – 12 May, 2018
Venue: Kings Cross Theatre