Photo by Brian Farrell
Rose Byrne takes a the look at award-winning Roscommon County Youth Theatre, who are once again bringing a brand new show to Roscommon Arts Centre on the 30th and 31st of January.
This year’s production, Risk, written by John Retallack and directed by Catherine Sheridan is an exciting mix of dance, narrative and text. What makes this play different though, is it doesn’t just come from the writer’s imagination. John Retallack, devised the play after working with teenagers at risk on a series of workshops. It gives a voice to these young people, lets us see what they really have to deal with, not just the usual perceptions one might hold about stroppy, typical or violent teenagers. But as the writer himself said in Coffee-Table Notes, speaking to arts writer Neil Cooper, “Characters have been condensed and there is no one person identifiable, but its’ all come out of stories we’ve been told.”
The stories unfold through a series of monologues from five main characters. They each bring us on their own personal journey of what leads them into taking such big risks. Michael Foley, who plays Ed the rebel, remarked, “I think this play is an opportunity to showcase the extremes that some teenagers are pushed to and how they deal with these situations.”
Surprisingly, they come to learn a lot about themselves through the risks they take. Eventually, they are all faced with life changing decisions. Arron Byrne, who plays Paul, the gambler, said, “I see this play as a perfect way of showing parents the difficulties teenagers can be faced with on a daily basis. It also gives hope to teenagers that face these challenges, they’re not alone and there is a way out.”
This production is very much an ensemble piece with a cast of eighteen members of RCYT who are all looking forward to portraying the character’s stories. Molly Mew, who plays Michelle, the fighter, said, “Playing Michelle is a challenge because she is such a broad character. However, youth theatre has taught me how to portray the emotions the character experiences.” Ronan Kearney who plays Martin, the prisoner, said, “The audience can expect to see the concept of taking a risk in a new light and discover what risk means to different people, sometimes with humorous consequences.” Gabia Neverauskaite, who plays Ann-Marie, the opponent added, “I found doing the play through monologue was challenging, however, I really enjoyed playing such a complex role.”
With several highly acclaimed productions performed over thirteen years, with plays such as, The Crucible, Chatroom, The Railway Children, and The Roses of Eyam to name but a few, the audience can look forward to another exciting, fresh and vibrant show from RCYT. As always, the cast and their director have approached this play with the same level of professionalism and passion we have come to expect from this very talented youth group. This new show, Risk, is a must see for teenagers and adults alike, the story is thought provoking, humorous and surprising. No doubt, this is a show that will stay with the audience long after they have left the theatre.
Tickets for Risk are on sale now at Roscommon Arts Centre and can be purchased online or by calling (090) 6625824. The performances take place on Thursday, 30th and Friday, the 31st of January. Concession prices for schools, youth groups and community groups are €7 if you quote “I’ll never be bullied again” when booking and all other tickets at concession prices of €10 if you quote “Hello, Mister Fridge.”
RCYT are supported by Roscommon County Council and the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon.