For Real

Te Whaea - Basement Theatre, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington

19/02/2010 - 21/02/2010

NZ Fringe Festival 2010

Production Details

Original Scripts Youth Company

A teen’s mind is chaotic and powerful  

Given no voice nor control, Jess is forced to consume the audience into her deep psychosis. ‘For Real’ is an innovative piece depicting the reality of teenagers minds. Jess’ mind is played by 9 actors. Each actor symbolises a different facet of her thought pattern. All parts come together to overwhelm Jess and the audience creating an intense and enlightening journey.

The Christchurch based Original Scripts Youth Company was formed in 2009 and is composed of 13 students, between 13 and 16 years old, auditioned from the Original Scripts Theatre School who showed creative thinking and incredible potential.

Holly Chappell is 24 years old and will direct the piece. Co-director Thomas Eason, 22, is also the composer of the original score. Sam Steeds is a talented, 19 year old, based in Wellington, who wrote the base script.

The goal of OSYC is to push the boundaries of devised youth theatre. All the members of the company have put themselves forward as actors who require a challenge outside the traditional walls the medium can sometimes create. The result is a realistic and stimulating portrayal of teenage life. A psychoanalytical journey for the cast and audience.

The fringe debut of Christchurch’s Original Scripts Youth Company, “FOR REAL” shows a stylistic depiction of the surging, spitting chaos of teenage inner life through dance, song and speech.

For Real
Te Whaea Basement Theatre
19th – 21st February
7.00pm each night
Tickets are available at the door and on or on 021 258 4752
Prices: general $15, concession $12 and fringe addict $10.     


Jessica McConnell,

Anna Bleyendaal,

Laura Hasson,

Jamie Spyker,

Lauren Spyker,

Beth Gallacher,

Evie Corrigan,

Jessica Hinchliff,

Greta Evans,

Olivia Parker.

All cast are from Christchurch and range in age from 14 – 17.   

Theatre , Youth ,

Unforgettable performances

Review by Lynn Freeman 24th Feb 2010

The hormone-flooded teenage mind is a mystery to adults. So to get an understanding of what’s going on in there, there is no better way than to hear it straight from them.

For Real comes from Christchurch’s Original Scripts Youth Company. It’s brilliant and insightful and daring. The actors each perform a part of a teen’s subconscious. It’s chaos, as the onslaught of adulthood conflicts with childhood innocence.

One of the voices, for instance, is Miss Insecurity, who sees herself and believes others see her as fat, dumb and embarrassing.

It’s moving and grunty theatre and all the cast give astonishingly assured and unforgettable performances. 
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Refreshing to be this engaged

Review by Lyne Pringle 22nd Feb 2010

From the moment we are greeted at the Te Whaea door by assured young women there is a sense that this production is well thought through and every detail attended to.

In the expansive stark and dark recesses of the Te Whaea basement, a sassy, well directed, well acted and well written drama is played out. Using a series of simple halogen lights that the actors manipulate, as well as occasional drumming sounds from the darkness, the young actors gather the audience in and lead us through an at times disconcerting and chilling yet ultimately victorious journey into a multifaceted representation of a teenager’s mind.

The Original Scripts Youth Company (OSYC) is a product of the Original Scripts Theatre School in Christchurch, which is committed to the intent in its name. Wendy Steeds, owner and director, has been running the school for 15 years with co-owner and producer of the company Sonia Chappell – they are a tour de force.

Wendy Steeds and Samuel Steeds have written the script for the production drawing on source material from the young company. The script has been ‘facilitated’ into this sharp performance by Holly Chappell. Thomas Eason and Chris Parker.

The young actors are stars and reading through their bios I realize how committed they are to OSYC, many of them have been training there for several years, and how well this training has served them. It is refreshing to see young actors relishing their material and delivering it with dynamic physicality, embodied voices and a deep sense of character.

Jess McConnell, a strong mover and striking performer, is a representation of herself while Oliva Parker, Jamie Spyker, Beth Gallacher, Jessica Hinchliff, Lauren Spyker, Evie Corrigan, Anna Bleyendaal, Laura Hasson and Greta Evans vie for the spotlight as chaotic fragments of her being. The crew are Anna Novis, Sarita Christensen and Hannah Connolly.

We are greeted with a cacophony as Jess tries to communicate with us but the squabbling, strident voices of her other selves drown her out in a 360 degree banter. A series of monologues follow delving into various social forces and states of being while Jess watches with us.

There is a timid Water Boy in white who deliberately and tenderly leads two of the audience to commune with him over a bowl of water, quenching an inner thirst. He has a quiet and intense presence.

Doll Girl is the perfect wife and perfect mum, reinforcing a perfect domestic realm as the ‘good little woman’. How quaintly old fashioned, we realize, as she delivers her monologue with strong actions and clear vocals.

Clown Girl interrupts and is desperate to entertain us with tricks; desperate to keep us watching and approving. Her physical energy is compelling. Teddy Girl gives me a teddy as we are all made to sit on the hard concrete floor … The action continues to travel from place to place.

It is a beautiful tale, a well developed vignette, as this teenager balances on the cusp between childhood and adulthood, searching for a purple dragon with pink spots that she as a princess can slip in her pocket so that he can appease her loneliness by sleeping on her heart at night – charming story telling.

Red Girl is a maniacal and proper pearl-wearing do-gooder from another age as, with humour, she gives a makeover to Jess turning her into a proper little lady with a tidy braid that would also suit a horse or a long haired rabbit. She makes her up, pinches her cheeks for a rosy glow and tells us next week she will cover hosting a tea party and making toffee. She manages to keep us fully engaged through a complex sequence.

Phone Girl is snotty, bigoted racist; two-faced and generally awful! The commitment and delivery from the actor here is fantastic. The script has me squirming with its racist slurs and lack of loyalty to friends – it feels good to be uncomfortable and to wonder do teenagers really think like this? What are the rules of engagement? Words like heinous, freak, the evils, OMG, but its like true, shut up and Fuck Off Mum, pepper the excellent script.

In a red bikini, Miss Insecurity is fantastic. The marriage of physicality and text is flawless as she constantly reinforces being “fat, dumb and ugly”. This is meaty and challenging material as the evening slides into darker places. Dedicated to bulimia and self-deception, she has no idea what she will do a year from now or what is her most significant accomplishment.

Clown Girl runs out of tricks. She eventually tries to push herself into her suitcase just to keep us laughing and watching – it is a very honest performance. We teeter towards compelling nightmarish madness as Strait Jacket Girl taunts us, “Do you want to be a hero?” as she beheads Teddy Girl’s comfort toy.

“Shall we grow up?” “There is no happily ever after in fairy tales; the baddie always has to die – to grow up innocence has to die.” The chills run down my spine as these words echo in the dark space. Teddy Girl’s emotional breakdown is real and disturbing.

Just as I’m thinking this is all too negative, White Girl enters as the heroine warrior queen who gives a rousing battle speech to “fight for freedom and honour and remove the chains of hatred” – her eyes glimmer with a beautiful intensity.

In the ensuing darkness the cacophony of voices returns as the drum rattles our hearts. Finally Jess controls all the other voices and can tell us who she is. Black out!

In the foyer discussion afterwards there is affirmation of the uniformly excellent performances and production values, and amicable differences of opinion on the interpretation of the material presented. It is refreshing to be this engaged. Re-reading the programme afterwards the performance delivers exactly what it says it will.

Something is cooking in Christchurch.
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Fresh take on teen travails

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 22nd Feb 2010

Teenage angst and the pressures and conflicts if growing up through the teen years has had many airings in many guises, both on stage and in films and TV. 

In this respect For Real is no different, a collaborative piece put together by members of the young cast, no doubt from personal experiences. Yet what makes this show somewhat different is the style of presentation which makes the traumas of being a teenager comes across as hauntingly real and which no doubt many parents will identify with. 

The Basement Theatre is a large black space which this group uses to great effect. With no seating or set and minimal lights, Jess, the angst-ridden teenager, leads the audience to confront the many chaotic and conflicting thoughts and ideas racing around in her head. Jess never speaks, just like the audience she observes.

Her parents, fairytale fantasies, the body beautiful and make-up classes are just some of the different aspects of her psyche that we meet as we journey around the space, which in essence is her mind. Mainly through monologues, but also with songs and dance, the large cast acts out what Jess is unable to articulate till the final moments of ultimate conflict.

Innovative and original, with strong direction, this group brings a fresh perspective to an age old problem.
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