Now the 13 youngsters of Fevered Sleep, aged between 11 and 17, have come to The Place to remind us, in a sprawling, formless show that would have greatly benefited from tighter artistic direction from (whisper it) adult theatre-makers.
We Are Not Finished is a 60-minute trawl through the worries and concerns of young people today, encompassing everything you could think of: climate change, the patriarchy, inequality, Black Lives Matter, why abortion is not available everywhere… and above all, why do you (adults) ignore us, not listen to us, treat us like white noise?
The stage is set on a gradient, dotted with microphones on which the youngsters take turns to address the audience. Either side, bars of busy LED lights set high up flash intensely creating a disco atmosphere, which nevertheless, according to a programme note by lighting designer Hans Jörg Schmidt, ‘powerfully represents the world we are passing on to our children.’
No, me neither.
For the first 10 minutes of the show the youngsters, casually dressed in their drab everyday kit, lounge around ribbing each other, intent on their mobile phones, appearing not to have a care in the world, while a disco beat plays on.
Eventually one approaches a microphone and starts addressing us. As he speaks, his words are transcribed (with plenty of spelling mistakes, as we couldn’t help noticing) onto screens placed on opposite sides up and down stage.
Mariam Rezaei’s score now becomes an ominous, seismic rumbling, which recurs throughout the show.
And that’s basically how it goes: ominous sound alternates with lively beats, the youngsters take turns to spell out their multiple worries, one giving voice to a melting glacier, another speaking on behalf of the weather, which is no longer ‘a steady cycle’.
There is a lot of improvisation, but none of the 13 appears to have theatre, movement or dance training. According to David Harradine and Samantha Butler, the show’s directors, who devised We Are Not Finished through workshops with young people, their aim was to ‘work alongside and with these young performers without erasing their agency with our own professional authority’.
A laudable aim, but there must have been a way to blend the freshness of the youngsters’ voices with a tighter theatrical format, that far from erasing their agency would have created a cogent, focused and therefore truly impactful show, rather than simply an outpouring of generic teenage angst.
Age Guidance: 12+
|What||Review: Fevered Sleep, We Are Not Finished|
|Where||The Place, 17 Duke's Road, London, WC1H 9PY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Euston (underground)|
10 Nov 21 – 13 Nov 21, 19:30 Dur.: 60 mins approx
|Price||£17 (concessions £13)|
|Website||Click here to book|