Summer on Stage is the annual production of three performances.
Adapted by Maxwell from John Levert’s novel The Flight of the Cassowary, sees 16 year-old Paul dealing with the increasing traumas of teenage life by drawing into himself and, he believes, taking on the form of various beasts.
As the beasts become increasingly problematic and intrusive, it becomes a brilliantly conceived metaphor for all the turbulent emotions of that age. It draws you into Paul’s world and blurs the line between fantasy and reality as he returns to school after a lazy summer holidays.
Originally written as a three hander for Vanishing Point, and premiering at the Traverse in 2005, the LYT production under Xana Marwick’s direction, widens the script out for an ensemble cast of 26 – while adding judicious little updates to the lines to keep it contemporary.
The older group of LYT participants take on Edward Bond’s 1999 play, The Children which was written specifically for teenagers to play, although with two parts for adult actors.
The Children follows a gang of youngsters who leave home after a calamity which falls on one of their number, Jo, when she is coerced by her mother into setting fire to a house on the nearby new estate. Far from being empty, a young boy is still in the house and burned alive.
Caitlin Mitchard gives an appropriately neutral telling to the central role of Jo. Troubled with an absent father and a mother given to drink to dull the ache of her job, Jo finds solace and companionship in a life-size child puppet which she drags around, but which she is trying to abandon.
When her mother’s emotional blackmail forces her to carry out the fire-raising, Jo tells her gang of friends and, to cement their complicity, they ritually brick the puppet to death.