THE scene: a house party in the Sycamores.
The ingredients: a bunch of teenagers, a generous serving of comedy and some alcohol. Now stir.
The result: the Devious Theatre Company’s latest production, Shifting, the second of the three plays they’re staging in the Arts Office as part of their six-month residency, ‘In the Future When All’s Well’.
The celebration in question is the birthday party of Amy, played by Alex Christle. “She’s turning 18, so there’s alcohol at the party and it’s going to get a bit crazy,” Alex explains as a few of the cast get together to discuss the play they’re staging from April 18-23.
“She’s a nice girl, and she kind of wishes that everything was a bit more magical and a bit less intense. She’s also more mature than some of her friends, and she mothers then a bit.”
Peter O’Connor, meanwhile, is in the role of Jim, whom he describes as “the character who embodies the main themes of the play. He’s just finished his Leaving Cert and is very indecisive about everything: ‘Will I go to college or stay and take a year out? Where will I take a year out? Do I go with one girl or with another girl?’”
“Sometimes he’s really being hard done by and sometimes he’s just a (word we’re probably not allowed to print for a younger audience),” Peter adds.
For actors used to playing Shakespearean and other classic roles, it’s a chance to draw on experiences from their own day-to-day lives.
“It’s scarily true to life,” Peter says. “I’m in sixth year at the moment and I’m probably a lit bit more sure of what I want to do than Jim is, but no one’s ever really certain and it’s fun to get a chance to play that. I can’t think of any other situation where you’d get to play something that true to life, because it’s all set in Kilkenny, it’s all in our own accents, and it’s mostly in our own clothes.”
“It really does touch on real life,” Alex agrees. “As a fifth-year now just thinking about next year and how people are leaving, it touches home all those issues.”
The play is written by John Kennedy, who is also playing the role of Jamie.
“Without revealing too much, he wants something very badly,” John says of his character, who “wants to give the birthday girl the present of a lifetime”.
Shifting has a completely new cast for Devious, and it’s the first of John’s plays to be staged, although he does “have a lot of them sitting in My Documents (on his computer) at home”.
Asked whether his fellow teens are doing justice to his work, he says: “They are, most definitely. At the start you’re afraid they’re not going to do it justice a little bit, and you’re also afraid that when they read some of the stuff they’re just going to be like ‘ha ha ha ha ha’ and turn around and start laughing.”
As the cast takes to the stage next week, audiences are sure to be laughing all right – but for the right reasons.
Devious Theatre Company presents ‘Shifting’ in the Kilkenny County Council Arts Office from April 18-23 at 8pm. Tickets are e5 on opening night and e10 for all other performances; booking is on 056 7794138, http://tickets.devioustheatre.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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