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Canberra Youth Theatre COCKROACH

Canberra Youth Theatre COCKROACH

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Published by Sally D'Souza

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Published by: Sally D'Souza on May 12, 2011
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05/12/2011

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Canberra Youth Theatre presents AUSTRALIAN PREMIERECOCKROACH by Sam HolcroftCanberra Festival9 - 13 March @ C Block TheatreGorman House Arts CentreTickets: Previews $15 all tickets, 9-10 MarchStandard $21/ Conc $17. 11-13 MarchBookings: email tickets@cytc.net phone (02) 6248 5057Info: www.cytc.netDirector: Karla ConwayCast: Morgan Thomas, Ethan Gibson, Olivia Hewson, Casey Elder, Laura Pearce, Humphrey Goldstein
Please remember that "strongest and fittest" does not necessarily mean physically strong and physically  fit, it means the individual best-suited to the environment. We call this adaptation. A good example of thisis the cockroach." 
 Let me just say this: when Canberra Youth Theatre (CYT) presented an Australian adaptation of SamHolcrofts (an emerging British writer) play, COCKROACH; it was NO Sir-David-Attenboroughs naturalistaccount of Darwinism and it application on the evolution of (urban) cockroaches. Au contraire mon friend!It was, instead, a depiction of the ongoing struggles inside the youthful minds, pubesant bodies and thatof a diabolical classroom of a dog-eat-dog (or in this case, bitch-eat-bitch) world in (loosely described as)modern and uncertain times.The 90-minute adaptation was set inside a (trés) metro design classroom; assembled with large squarewhite tiles paved from walls-to-floor, a (movable) white-framed glass door and a series of (clear) plasticchairs. The set design was impeccable, depicting a classroom environment somewhat similar (one wouldimagine) to that of George Orwells Nineteen Eighty-Four (or that of the late John Lennons spare roomduring his hippie days). Both the male and female students were dressed in typically-styled grey and dulluniforms, but the girls dresses were notably hitched well above their knees (most likely to denote theirgrowing sexual awareness). The teacher, Beth (played by Morgan Thomas), wore a black dress &cardigan and a perpetual frown - probably due to her unsurmountable pressures to educate her raginghormonal students biology while just outside the school grounds is an ongoing long and bloody war;despite this war (in the Australian adaptation) serves as a metaphor: symbolic of the uncertainties we livein in modern times.Cockroach is about youth warfare. It attempts to portray the kinds of internal battles teenagers face day-to-day in a world rife with conflicts; but unfortunately, it was an overkill with the usage of motifs of dualities throughout the play: youth/adult, chaos/order, freedom/incarceration, survival/security,dreams/realities, as well as male anatomy against females (just to name a few); threaded with themes of George Orwells Animal Farm and his Nineteen Eighty-Four. In all fairness, it just managed to sail throughthe peaks and troughs for the first Act with modest acts of violence and obscenities, before (all in thespan of 30 or so minutes) overexposing us in the latter with adolescent themes of depression, suicide,conscription, sex & nudity and (even) genital mutilation.The CYT adaptation of Cockroach was enlightening, to say the least. It attempts to convey the kind of thicket the five teenagers were marching through their internal urban jungle against the externalboundaries of a sterile (yet trés funky) classroom environment; ground zero for inevitably turning thesestudents from a disorderly assembly to complete and utter adulterated chaos. Smeared with red painton their youthful faces, they went from classroom delinquents to urban warriors (similar to the kindsfrom Lord of the Files); one could only imagine the transgression happened somewhere during Dame

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