Flying Arrow Productions theatre students practice for their upcoming performance on June 16 and 17 at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

Revelstoke youth participate in international AB theatre project

They will be performing their piece on June 16 and 17

Right now Anita Hallewas of Flying Arrow Productions is advertising and selling tickets for a performance that doesn’t exist.

Yet.

Shoe Tree: A Play, is a working title, and the graphics on the poster may or may not end up being relevant to the end production, but that is part of the process.

At the moment there are around 13 Revelstoke theatre students putting together a piece under the tutelage of David Glass, as part of his international AB Project.

For the project, theatre groups around the world are exploring and creating productions loosely based around the book One of Us by Asne Seierstad which portrays the story of Anders Breivik and the 69 youth he shot on the island of Utoya in July of 2011.

“I’ve always been interested in universal themes and the story of Anders Breivik and the Young People is almost mythic, Greek myth almost–this disturbed loner, fixated on slightly obsessive ideas of polarization politically–that was also paralleling the rise of right and left in Europe and across the world…somehow terribly it became more and more relevant,” Glass said.

The first part of the project is research. Students have researched and workshopped the tragic event and the trial as well as the context and politics surrounding the violent act.

“Essentially we are discussing right wing terrorism as well as the affects it has on young people because (Breivik) specifically targeted young people,” said student Hailey Christie.

The second part of the project is for each group to create a production.

The performance is being created as the workshop progresses, with excerpts taken directly from the book by Asne Sierestad about Anders Breivik and the terrorist attack he orchestrated against a group of children on the island of Utoya in Norway. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

Glass explained that though the basis of the project is the same with each of the eight groups across the world, it grows and changes depending on the politics and culture in each location.

Here in Revelstoke the discussion and exploration often turned to gun violence south of the border.

“We have been exploring these themes for the last 14 months and what we have discovered is that the themes that have surfaced for this group connect to our geographical location, essentially we have been discussing the book but each time we discuss this mass murderer it keeps coming back to the school shootings,” said Hallewas.

For Glass, the AB Project began while he was working on a different production in Bosnia. He was reading One of Us at the time and decided to try incorporating themes from the book to focus the drama. He discovered that the youth engaged with the story of Andres Breikvik and the young people of Utoya.

The theatrical space allows youth to explore and engage in dialogue around issues and themes surrounding the terrorist attack in a safe space.

“I am a great believer that we must never actually take theatre seriously nor must we take artists seriously, they must not take themselves seriously because that is the whole beauty of art is that it is not serious,” Glass said.

Hallewas and Glass met at a conference in England in 2016, around the time when Glass was just beginning the project. Hallewas wanted to bring the project to Canada.

Glass met with the students for the first time in April of 2017, and they have been working on the project since then.

David Glass is an international director currently working on the AB Project where he works with youth groups in nine different countries putting together a performance peice about the Anders Breivik attack and the affect of the violence on youth. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)

“Our research looks different than regular research, our research is physical and it is performance style, so when we explore and discuss something we explore it with our bodies,” Hallewas said.

For Christie, who has been a theatre student her whole life and is currently pursuing a bachelor of Music Theatre Performance at Sheridan in Ontario, it is an opportunity to work with a world renowned theatre creator specializing in devised and experimental physical theatre, but also an opportunity to expand her worldview.

“I think that a lot of the time adults and older people think that young people don’t need to know about this and they shouldn’t be bothered with the worries of the world and the pressure and stress, but I think that we as young people need to know about these things and we need to be a part of social change because this is going to be our world,” she said.

The production promises to stray from traditional theatre. Glass said that the kind of theatre he is interested in isn’t explicit, but rather incorporates everyone’s thoughts and forms into an unconventional story.

The final stage of the international project will be to bring representatives from each of the groups around the world together to put together a production using the best that each group has come up with.

The show runs Jun 16th and 17th at 7:30 p.m. at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are available online at flyingarrowproductions.ca as well as at the Revelstoke Recreation Centre.


 

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jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

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