As one may say, it’s the journey and not the destination that matters, or, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans (thanks Lennon). Sometimes, like this production, the destination can be as brilliant as the journey it took to get there.
The writer and director James Raggatt notes at the beginning of the program, ‘in different forms and formats I have been nursing this play into existence for the past three years. The early stages were full of wonder. I looked in awe at this messy thing I had suddenly, somehow brought into the world. It was new and exciting and in many ways, innocent, untarnished by overthought yet burdened by its simplicity.’ The creative process is a liberating one, and a humbling journey of letting set ideas perhaps at times take a back seat – to allow something new to manifest. To create can be a personal experience, or it can take a team of people to help a project come into fruition.
Youth and Destination is alive in vision and creation, brought to life by an extraordinary team of actors. This play is a stunning presentation of slices of the every day – moments that we sometimes take for granted and moments that are more impactful in our lives. For example – walking past a person begging on the street to get to where we want to go in a hurry. Flicking through a dating app, treating others as a catalogue to suit our desires. Being on individual devices with your partner – both involved in a screen…more so than each other. Having sex, with the same sex – for the first time. Dementia. War. Starting a new family. Experiencing moments of hope, for no real particular reason. Some moments were cleverly humorous – such as capturing the absurdity of social media – all watching a burning building outside…saying someone should do something…all the while everyone taking selfies in front of the disaster.
Some other moments were incredibly touching: a woman talks to her friend about her decision to keep her baby or abort it – and the supportive friend with absolute love saying she will be there no matter what decision is made.
The play begins with the actors on stage, in a very clean, bare-boards style setting with strikingly simple lighting above, and a projection giving title to each scenario. The windows to the KXT Theatre are exposed, allowing the actors to use them and direct their and our attention outside at times. The scenes are tastes of life, and jump quite quickly form one to the other. Each scene however is acted so sincerely and with such presence from the actors, that you are immediately drawn in – from one moment to the next. My only desire was I would have loved to have seen more from each scene – however that would of made for a much lengthier play, and of course not the intention of this piece. Being quick in transition from one slice of life to the next kept the audience on the edge of their seats and taken on many involving journeys.
Youth and Destination is a beautifully executed piece of theatre, with much heart, skill and finesse. What started out as ‘a toddler’ in thought – has become a living breathing production that is entertaining, thoughtful, and bursting at the seams with superb talent. And as much as this piece is plentiful in ideas and thoughts, it is an example of the world we live in, fast pace, full of contradictions, political upheavals, questioning of ethical boundaries, and humanity.
Youth and Destination is recommended and on until 12 May at Kings Cross Theatre, for more information and tickets see: http://www.kingsxtheatre.com/youth-destination
Featuring: Jack Angwin, Georgia Blizzard, Gloria Rose, Julia Christensen, Maree Cole, Skyler Ellis, Alex Malone, Bardiya McKinnon, Nikita Waldron and Ross Walker.
Creative/Tech Team: James Raggatt (writer/director), Kyle Jonsson (set design), Martin Kinnane (lighting design), Joseph Raggart (assistant director), Ellen Castles (stage management), Juliana Taahi (sound engineer), Kiah Gossner (composer), Thomas Pidd (production management), Matthew Cheetham (assistant producer) and Kate Cornish (photography).