PLAYWAVE CREATIVE REVIEW: IMPENDING EVERYONE
Reviewed by Nicole Pingon
‘This cannot be stopped; your history is impending.’
Today, very few parts of our daily lives aren’t on record. We voluntarily give ourselves to Facebook, our private messages are stored, and Google knows just a little too much about us. It’s no secret the Internet watches our every move, and generally we don’t seemed too phased by this erosion of privacy, because 'that’s just the way it is.’
But the moment this same information is threatened to be released to our peers, it’s an entirely different story.
Michael Andrew Collins’, Impending Everyone is a new-Australian work commissioned by ATYP, touching on ethical issues surrounding technology, privacy, and justice today. Set in a NSW public high school with every student’s web history on the line, of course things are only going to escalate.
We’re presented with the perfect situation to dive head first into the messy nature of high school identity, friendship, romance and uncertainties about the future. We desperately try to be individuals, but in the end we just want be accepted by those around us, and will go to any length to ensure the things we decide to conceal from others, remain hidden.
The show gives audiences a fascinating glimpse into the depths of the teenage psyche (a very confusing place I’m still trying to navigate!). All ten actors shone with a youthful energy and vulnerability, you would think they’re simply being themselves on stage. The things they said, and the way they said them allowed a familiar voice to emerge; a voice I could genuinely relate to and empathise with.
These characters are people we know, people we have been; the people we are. Exuding confidence on the outside, while crumbling on the inside. Hiding their vulnerability from those they are closest to. Thinking they know what’s best. We’ve all been there.
Having just graduated high school, it was kind of a smack in the face walking back into a school setting. The concrete no one was bothered to smooth out properly, silver seats, and mulch that always smelt like eucalyptus. A clever utilisation of the space, Aleisa Jelbart’s set captured a scarily authentic image of every NSW public school; it was frankly a little triggering! For the ninety minutes, I genuinely felt like I was back at school!
Together Chrysoulla Markoulli’s playful guitar riffs, and Martin Kinnane’s glittering lights created a whimsical aura, and established clear transitions between storylines, giving audiences insight into the different ways teenagers may responded to the same sticky situation. Their individual stories were all well-rounded, detailed and sometimes took completely unexpected turns. These teenage characters were portrayed with the depth they deserve, beyond a stereotypical desire to assimilate with the crowd; because believe it or not, that’s not the only thing teenagers want in life!
Impending Everyone should be commended for its authentic representation of what teenagers and school is like today; something I wish I saw more of on Sydney stages. Director Fraser Corfield smoothly travels between moments of humour, confrontation and teenage awkwardness – all that fun stuff we deal with during our lovely formative years.
I couldn’t help thinking, ‘thank goodness this didn’t happen at my school,’ because the drama it would have caused would be unbearable. But it did leave me wondering: How would I react? What would I do? Do I have things to hide?
No matter how much we try to convince ourselves, I think everyone will always have something to hide.
I was lucky enough to speak to two actors from the show, Alexandra Jensen (Elia) and Adam Stepfner (Jack), and the director of the show, Fraser Corfield. Check out our conversations here!