Once and for all we’re gonna tell you who we are so shut up and listen

St Margaret's College Chapel, Christchurch

30/07/2009 - 02/08/2009

Christchurch Arts Festival 2009

Production Details

We’re gonna do a play about teenagers but about a lot more than teenagers who feel like teenagers during their teens: about the utter chaos in our heads, the urge to go far too far, pimples and dozens of other topics that will enrich your lives

We’ll pull down the barriers between the way we are onstage and off
We’ll update the definition of puberty
We get on your nerves, but for once you’ll understand why.
We will make all other art on puberty superfluous
You’ll think we’re super cool. 

The hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe makes its New Zealand debut in Christchurch. This unmissable work from Belgium has won accolades the world over for its frank view of thirteen youngsters who are at once rebellious, aggressive, vulnerable, cool, childlike, and sometimes surprisingly adult.

Once and for all we’re gonna tell you who we are so shut up and listen captures the passionate, invincible chapter in all our lives, and slams it kicking, playful and wild onto the stage.

Created under the supervision of ONTROEREND GOED, KOPERGIETERY & RICHARD JORDAN PRODUCTIONS LTD with the support of the Flemish Government, the Province of East-Flanders & the City of Ghent.

For more information on this performance visit http://www.ontroerendgoed.be/pubersengfr.php

30 July – 1 August, 7.30pm
2 August, 6.00pm
St Margaret’s College Chapel  

Book Tickets »

Battering spontaneity pushes boundaries

Review by Lindsay Clark 01st Aug 2009

The unconventionally long and forthright challenge of the title indicates the thrust of this performance piece. Its message of self determination and self celebration of youth is clear, created by a cast of 13 teenagers (14-18 year olds) from a performing arts school in Ghent.

Their summer holiday tour has taken them around the world with their extraordinary work, attracting numerous prestigious awards.

Its unmistakably in-yer-face creation and recreation of adolescence is hectically physical and at the same time curiously innocent of the compromises age and the world have in store. The result is a brutally immediate piece of work that is not without poignancy if you are over, say, twenty.

Thirteen assorted chairs are ranged in a tidy line across the stage. Enter the cast, singly, each with the air of maddening nonchalance that teachers and parents know very well. Their dress, their movement, the way they sit, all proclaim "I am who I am."

Count to about three and interaction between individuals has moved beyond conventional expectation. In about five counts, chaos has descended and as the inevitable music builds, it is complete. Chairs tumble, bodies fly, groupings writhe together and melt apart. Like one composite animal, adolescence is there, alive before us.

The hooter sounds and miraculously obedient, the troupe swoops on debris and departs, restoring order as they leave.

Variations of this sequence take us through the partying and teasing, the petting and the rejections of teenage existence. A constant feature is the incredible energy and drive to freedom which fuels the group and which inevitably results in ecstatic disorder.

In an amiable question and answer session after the performance, the director summed up the work as "a celebration of teenage destructionism." The paired elements of joy and anarchy are indelibly present.

The piece is hugely visual, sustained by music which sets the bones vibrating. When words do come, they are in a few tentative but carefully chosen sentences from individuals who advance to the front of the stage. "I don’t care" and "I have to go too far" are the sort of things they tell us.

For all its battering spontaneity, the work has been a long time in creation. Six months of workshops were followed by a year of rehearsals to confirm the trust and cohesion of this talented and assured ensemble. As provocative theatre, breaking conventions of plot and ‘acting’, it is in itself a metaphor for pushing boundaries and surely this is the wonderful opportunity a festival can provide. 
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