National Theatre of Scotland: Chronicles and Motion
- Kelly Apter
- 16 October 2018
To tie-in with Scotland's Year of Young People, National Theatre of Scotland has been holding performances across the country under the banner of 'Futureproof'
It's not often you have to leave all your belongings in a locker, walk through a metal detector and have the door locked behind you when seeing a show. But for the young male performers in Motion, it's part of everyday life.
For the past nine months, Jess Thorpe and Tashi Gore of Glasgow-based theatre company Junction 25 have been working with inmates at the Young Offenders Institution in Polmont, and Motion is the fruits of their labour.
Backed by a large screen, segmenting aspects of their life, the seven performers explore what it means to be a man: filmic depictions of heroes and villains; familial and societal role models; psychological architypes; and muscle-bound superheroes. The young men's freedom may be curtailed by the walls around them, but their imaginations have clearly run free during this process, and the quick wit, banter, physical energy and deep insight they brought to the stage was a privilege to witness.
At the other extreme, the young people performing Chronicles used their freedom of movement to great effect. Meeting us in the entrance hall of the Museum of Scotland, they beckoned us around this large, beautiful building, gently forcing us to look at its exhibits, architecture and the world through different eyes.
These 'Young Experts' as they were termed, had also spent several months being mentored and guided by a Scottish theatre company – Project X, an organisation that celebrates and champions dance and performance within the African Caribbean Diaspora in Scotland.
Sometimes the Experts spoke to us, sharing their pre-recorded thoughts and creative writing through our headphones, sometimes they let the museum's contents speak for itself – taking us into rooms filled with cultural artefacts from other nations. Interspersed between the thought-provoking dialogue were moments of fluid movement that brought the space further to life.
It may be impossible to quantify the impact the Futureproof projects have had on the participants – that will be borne out as their lives progress. But for those of us watching, it was a small but welcome example of what young people given the opportunity, time and belief can achieve.