Emergence @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Programmed by YTAS (Youth Theatre Arts Scotland), Emergence is a celebration of works-in-progress and new ideas from Scotland's leading youth theatre directors, in collaboration with young performers. We review four of the shows presented

Feature by Mirren Wilson | 20 Nov 2019
  • Emergence @ The Traverse, Edinburgh

Juliet and Juliet, directed by James Beagon (★★★★) 

James Beagon begins with a desire to put more science-fiction on stage. With a focus on the importance of communication, music acts as the bond between two worlds in his new piece, Juliet and Juliet

The story is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, but the two households are human and alien. Delivered in the style of a bedtime story, three narrators also underscore the piece with various instruments and an original romantic score. It’s surprisingly emotional and funny yet simple, exploring the fact that sometimes all we need is a little chat. 

Knots, directed by Marion Geoffray (★★★) 

Using R.D Laing's texts on mental illness and relationships as a stimulus, Marion Geoffray explores if the text is still relevant today or if the context of human connection has changed. 

Six performers weave amongst one-another to create a physical web made from wool; it’s a visual spectacle and wonderfully symbolic. Trapped in the stereotypes and pressures of the modern world, it’s perfectly claustrophobic. The text, however, is confusing and abstract, and is lost slightly in the physicality of the piece. 

And Then We Said..., directed by Sarah Rose Graber (★★★) 

Everybody thinks but not everyone speaks, even when they feel strongly. Sarah Rose Graber and her female troupe explore the realities of holding back by using elements of clowning and choral singing. 

There are some poignant moments where the performers fight for their right to speak, profusely apologise for being in the limelight, then never really say anything at all – all too relevant. In future, it’d be interesting to explore the technicalities of why these voices feel silenced. 

Love and Machinery, directed by Leonie Rae Gasson (★★★★★) 

Opening up a conversation about sex and its many misconceptions is a bold move for 16-year olds, especially in front of their parents, but Gasson creates a modern on-stage riot that is fast-paced and daring. 

As they mime along to Stevie Nicks or make sex toys out of the audience's possessions, the ensemble are electric. It’s inspiring to see a piece that empowers young women and non-binary individuals to discuss thier sexuality – it would be a breath of fresh air to see more of this work in the future.