Over the past few weeks, our Young Communicators have been updating you on the lead up to BRINK - the Young Company's 2015 Studio Show - a collaboration with internationally renowned writer Jackie Kay MBE and Associate Artistic Director, Matthew Xia. See their latest blog post as they edge closer to performance date for BRINK…
The Young Communicators spoke to a Tiffany Bowan - a member of the Young Writers Group about her involvement in the production…
How have you been involved in BRINK?
I have contributed to BRINK as a Young Writer. In November, the Writers and Performers were all given the opportunity to meet with Jackie Kay and Matthew Xia. Together, we discussed the definition of BRINK, what brings you to the BRINK, and what happens when you cross over. Following this, the Company shared their own BRINK moments during workshops and via the hashtag #BRINK on Twitter. The Writers were then asked to write in response to all of these ideas, whether it be through the construction of a character or a piece of dialogue.
What has this experience been like?
This has been a new approach to writing and producing a piece of theatre. Normally when I produce something, it is in response to how I am feeling at the time or an event that is happening in my life. Whilst this project has also been about reflecting on personal experiences, it has been a less self-indulgent process - I have been exposed to lots of people’s stories and feelings.
Additionally, writing is often a solitary process. Therefore, collaborating with the Performers and other Young Writers has been interesting. Sharing anecdotes and throwing around ideas has enabled us to develop a piece of theatre which speaks to everyone on some level and I feel that this is what good theatre should do.
It has also been quite surreal working alongside a writer like Jackie Kay! I like how she combines poetry and music within her writing and I feel privileged to have worked with her.
How did you approach the idea of BRINK?
In our workshops, we have been considering the importance of time pressure when writing a scene. If there is no pressure on the characters at that point in time, then the story lacks pace and audience members become disengaged. To me, this concept governs the whole idea of BRINK – all the stories are being told because a character has pressure on them to do so. Without that pressure, the characters are not on the BRINK and how can you invest in a character who undergoes no change?
Then during the meeting with Jackie Kay, she asked us to think about moments in our life where we felt we had reached a BRINK. I made a list of significant events which I considered to be a BRINK – they ranged from having speech therapy as a child to making important career decisions. We then relayed these stories back to Jackie and she merged them into her writing.
Can you summarise your work that appears in the show?
I have contributed a monologue to the show. It takes the form of a breakup letter addressed to Procrastination. I thought the breakup letter would be an appropriate medium for exploring this because people often reach a brink when they separate from someone.
However, I feel ‘on the brink’ when I’m procrastinating - I’m near to completing something important but laziness or self-doubt usually holds me back. Therefore, I decided to break up with Procrastination and I’ve started a love affair with Inspiration instead – he’s much friendlier and we’re getting on just fine.
What does BRINK mean to you?
When we initially discussed our ideas for what BRINK meant, I found myself associating it with academic plights such as trying to meet University deadlines and waiting for exam results. Therefore, I would personally define BRINK within the context of needing to be successful and the fears that arise with not meeting them expectations.
For others though, the BRINK can refer to a variety of situations – finding love for the first time, dealing with the loss of a friend, making a stand against something, etc…
How would you describe the Young Company?
The Young Company encourages and nurtures potential, upcoming talent. I have been able to have some of my short plays performed in The Studio and I have also had the pleasure of working alongside young people with the same enthusiasm for theatre as myself. As future Theatre Makers, we have to be able to communicate our ideas and opinions with others in order to be successful within the industry and the Young Company has allowed me to develop this skill. It has enhanced the way I interact with others and share my thoughts, something which I struggled with prior to joining the Company. So overall, I would describe the Young Company as a great opportunity - and one that I am glad to have taken.
Opening night for the Company’s 2014-15 show, BRINK, is just one week away, receiving its world premiere on 26 March in The Studio. More Info.