I was privileged to attend a small-group preview of La Boite Theatre’s Act 2 2021.
My last contact with La Boite was at Hale St in the early 1990s.
The current venue is modern, vibrant, and full of surprise.
Part of Act 2 is an exterior audiovisual art display of the work of a number of First Nations artists.
I did not have time to immerse myself in the experience fully, but my appraisal was that a great deal of time could be well spent in such an immersion.
The location of the theatre in its Urban Village education precinct is nigh on perfect, but parking can be a challenge.
The Theatre and Expression Bar has great ambience, with facilities modern, crisp, clean, and welcoming.
The performance elements of Act 2 are The Time is Now and Caesar.
The Time is Now is a world premiere and, in a first for La Boite, has an all-teenage cast.
The official media release supplied at the preview informed us that the cast members, involved in the La Boite Young Artist Company, have contributed to devising the work providing an “authentic look into a future imagined by our imminent leaders” (Ari Palani, co-creator and La Boite youth and education producer).
Our preview included the opportunity to view the cast in rehearsal.
We entered the upper back of theatre, and I was immediately taken back to very happy memories of theatre in the round at the old Hale St venue.
There was no audience, no one else extraneous to the rehearsal process; the theatre was nevertheless full of energy.
The performers ranged in age from 12 to 17 or 18, and to my mind, the delightful diversity did not feel contrived in any way.
The performers looked like a representative group that I may have seen when dropping my year 9 neighbour to school.
It would be wrong to detail any of the performance, but the use of monologue, dialogue, dance, structured movement, and unashamed audience interaction was immediately mesmerising.
The vast energy encompassed joy, resolution, conviction, and well-placed self-belief.
The performers were confident in their capacity to educate and inform their ‘elders’.
A call to change necessarily involves a statement that the present is unsatisfactory.
The tone in the room was not of rancour but did include heartfelt urgency.
From the background briefing and the extraordinary experience of some rehearsal time, I will assert that The Time is Now is a piece of political theatre that speaks truth to power from and by young people.
I expect it will be challenging, informative, and fun.
The season is very short, so my advice is to get in and book.
The Time is Now will run from May 24 to June 5.
Caesar will run from 17 July to 7 August – preview to come.