So, we have hit Day Three with a bit of an exhausted glow...we are doing well but it's full on and these girls are working hard.
In response we have spent the day in more discussion about the ever evoling nature of the piece and the ultimate question of what we want to leave our audience with...
It's certainly a tricky thing to unpack - the piece itself deals primarily with the impact of eating disorders on the central character, Alice, but in our version, not only do we have to bring it up to date, with the author's blessing, but we have also had to consider what that means. Where does this situation fit now?
The first say thing to consider is that rather than less cases of anorexia, bulemia and BED exisitng since the writing of this play there are now more, much more and so it has been part of our discussion to think about and represent why. The easy answer is Social Media (how ironic that I am blogging about this now), the onset of pressure that cannot be turned off or ignored, that follows you everywhere and offers up judgement into all areas of your life - the giant UNFRIENDLY friend, the constant.
Alongside Ellie, Deanna, Leah and Hannah, this we have discovered is at the heart of so many mental health issues which includes eating disorders but stretches itself along to anxiety disorders, depression and self harming amongst young adults. These young women are aware, super aware of all of this, they are touched by it, have friends that suffer, see it at school and on social media. But to me, what has been the most startling revelation is that realisation that unlike me at 14, these young women have eyes on the world and that world is forever changing and very very full.
This might sound obvious but after spending three days with them and listening not only to their focussed discussions on the play but then just being around their chat, their own casual conversations I am stunned at how sophisticated and alert these young women are, and maybe they are an anomaly, but somehow I don't think so.
When I was their age (yes, I am old) I think my sphere of concerns ranged from family (quite small), school (smaller) and friends (BIGGEST) but most important it was local, the most adventurous thinking was to go to Reading or maybe LONDON - massive adventure. But these girls are out there - as in considering the world in all it's glory and gore. AND IT'S BUSY.
BUSY IN THEIR HEADS.
As we were considering the set design today I shared with them my idea that as the piece progresses the walls get busier and busier, till it feels a little overwhelming for the audience. Chaotic. As we sat discussing this I asked them if this how it felt. How it feels to be young now.
Yes, they said. It's overwhelming and it's chaos. Chaos in their heads.
These modern times have brought with them so much in terms of technology and opportunities for us all and I hope that this will translate to a glorious and bountiful life for the younger generation but to get there they will need to navigate a great deal.
I am in awe of them. Bravo ladies.
To catch these four talented young performers in 'Gorgeous' by Anna Furse, come down to The Alma Tavern Theatre in Bristol on Saturday 1st September at 7.30pm. Tickets are £7.50. Book online at www.almatavernandtheatre.co.uk or call 0117 973 5171.