An Insight Into The Process
Ellen Dorsett, the Director, answers questions on some of the decision making that has gone into this year’s Courtyard Senior Youth Theatre Production ‘TWO’.
“I am in awe of how talented these young people are”
What inspired you to choose Jim Cartwright’s ‘TWO’ for the Senior Youth Theatre production?
I was first introduced to Jim Cartwright’s work at Sixth Form when I performed in ‘Road’, and have loved his plays ever since. Cartwright has a way of writing about serious issues, in a beautifully humorous way that draws you in. With a focus on topics that everyone can relate to, no matter what age or background. There are some issues raised in ‘TWO’ that I think are particularly important to raise awareness of and are relevant now more than ever.
‘TWO’ has always been one of my favourite Cartwright plays, I have read it so many times and each time I am surprised by the rollercoaster ride of emotions experienced and how deeply I become attached to the characters despite only meeting them for a brief moment.
Have you had ‘TWO’ in mind for quite a while or were you reminded of it when deciding on a play?
I’ve always had in the back of my mind that one day I wanted to direct my own version of ‘TWO’ and have been waiting for the right opportunity. I had to really think about whether it was right to do it now with a larger cast than the original play is intended for, ‘TWO’ is written for just two actors who multi-role. As much as I love this about the play, I also completely fell in love with the individual characters and thought it would be great to discover more about each of them. Having a cast of 18 has allowed us to do some really detailed characterisation and explore those relationships further. We have been able to give more time and thought to their backstories, we have also been able to build up the scenes with extra characters which I think has really helped bring our pub to life.
Why did you decide to involve some of the actors in production/behind-the-scene roles?
I was very keen for the group to take ownership of the production and knew the cast had various other skills that would be brilliant to utilise. I am in awe of how talented these young people are and it has been amazing to see individuals take the lead in their specific areas. It is also a great introduction into being a part of a professional Theatre Company and is another element that drives them closer as a group.
You are incorporating quite a lot of physical theatre into the show. What was the reason for this decision?
I’ve always been really interested in storytelling through physicality and knew there were a few performers in the group that were particularly skilled in this area, most of all my Assistant Director Matt Lawrence who has choreographed the majority of movement sequences within the piece. Using physical theatre encourages the group to work creatively and collaboratively, and instils a sense of trust between the performers. I think this style gives the piece a contemporary feel and has allowed the group to put their unique stamp on it.
What do you hope that the cast (and the audience) will take away from “Two” after it’s finished its run?
I hope the cast will have had a valuable and enjoyable experience that has taught them a lot about themselves and what they are capable of individually and as a group. For the members that want to pursue a career in the arts, they have hopefully gained a good knowledge of what it is like to be part of a production, not just as an actor.
I would love the audience to take away a real sense of familiarity with the characters and their situations, like the characters could be someone they know or even a personal reminder of something they have been through. For the audience to leave feeling moved in some way, we will have accomplished what we set out to do.
TWO will be in The Courtyard’s Studio on the 19, 20, 21 July at 7.45pm. To book tickets for TWO click here, or for more information contact the Box Office on 01432 340555.