Worth the telling

Eve Allin responds to Hidden, demanding more from her student theatre


Is there any point in putting uninteresting stories on stage?

Is there any reasoning, beyond regional bias, that working-class characters are placed in the North?

Is there any way we can only put on shows at NSDF that are radically political?

Student theatre is theatre. It is not to be judged at a different level. I want my money back.

Student theatre is good. It can be so very good. It can also be challenging and clever and subversive.

Why do we tell stories, if not to share something that affects us? It seems that in telling stories through theatre, we are able to give those stories a third dimension. It’s a dimension of bodies and space and colour and actions meeting, or not quite meeting, words.

If you tell those stories in a black box, in a space that really says nothing except that it is self-consciously theatrical, those stories must live in that third-dimensional world all on their own. They must survive without the theatre, essentially.

This way of telling stories is not invalid. Not at all – in fact, it’s sometimes really valid but only when those stories are worth telling.

People have boring lives. We know this, because we are boring people.

Do we want to hear more about other boring people, and have that challenged only a tiny bit?

Kind of, not really.

I see why. I see why they did it. Because theatre is about reflection.

But theatre’s also about subversion. A subversion of something more than what other people do and what everyone else does. A subversion of form in a more interesting way than lives being performed in monologues, in a black box, with two chairs and unnecessary onstage costume changes.

This is a student drama festival and that does not mean we accommodate for shows that seem to be the epitome of “student drama”. Actually, it means we ask for more, we need more. We need to be told we are wrong, that we aren’t doing enough. We need to be told something new.


Send your reviews, thoughts and jokes to: noff@nsdf.org.uk

@noffmag

Photo credit: Giulia Delprato