Friday, December 15, 2023

People You May Know - Lucid Theatre Company


People You May Know by Lucid Theatre Company, at Canberra Theatre Centre, Courtyard Studio, December 14-16 2023.

A group of our 2022 Emerge Company, Ashleigh Butler, Jessi Gooding, Quinn Goodwin and Thea Jade, are putting what they learned into practice, redeveloping the material they devised back then to form the basis of their debut production. They've enlisted a crop of fellow-emerging artists from the Canberra Youth Theatre community, including Emerge Company 2023's Matt White, who will be making his directorial debut!

And if you're 18–25 and want to follow in their footsteps, enrolments are open for Emerge Company 2024... 😎

People You May Know is like democracy – as Abraham Lincoln might have said, it’s a play of these (20 year-old) people, by these (20 year-old) people, and for the 20 year-old people who nearly filled the Courtyard Studio on opening night.  

It is also a kind of satirical comedy about which Winston Churchill would have unfairly said, like democracy, it’s terribly messy and seems to be the worst form of theatre except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Being surrounded by all these 1-score people, you perhaps can imagine my trepidation at 4-score years and 3 (that's my Shakespeare reference), pretending I can critically evaluate a play from an online world, where all social communication since birth requires the internet.  When the internet crashes, this is disaster.  Mostly for me a confusing disaster; while being very funny and clearly deserving the huge celebratory curtain call from everybody else for this brand-new Lucid Theatre Company's inaugural production.

Though it seemed as if it had been created along the lines that I might have used in teaching drama through large-group improvisation, it came together enough to open up some serious experiential learning.  The class instruction might have been “you have 90 minutes for this workshop; you begin with a party and end with a party a week or two later – start improvising when I click my fingers”.

Looking back to when I was 20 at university like these characters, communication was immediately personal, or by tentative telephone calls to the person you might be falling in love with, and by letters with anxious time-gaps waiting for replies.  The failure of the internet in this play, meaning the inability to have immediate communications, and the lacking in experience of how to manage without knowing what was happening (and not being able to submit your essay on time) still left these characters with the apprehensions and misapprehensions, the same fantasies, and the same possibilities for jealousy as for me 60 years ago.

But the over-excitement and instant judgemental responses which today’s social media generates as TikTok is flooded with photos and videos, sent with or without permissions and consent, is really the serious point of this play.  Life at 20 was never meant to be easy, as even Shakespeare wrote 400 years ago; but at least in my day it happened at a slower and perhaps more manageable pace.

So People You May Know – or maybe don’t know as well as you thought – is an interesting piece of what I would call exploratory social drama, and bodes well for the future of Lucid Theatre.