TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

16/10/2014 - 25/10/2014

Production Details


“A dynamic and exciting piece of theatre that captures well the underlying unease of our times… an imagination of what everybody knows but chooses to ignore.” Laurie Atkinson, The Dominion Post.

Twenty-odd diverse young Auckland performers. One award-winning theatre-maker. Add some inter-generational tension, an election, and a planet on the verge of collapse and you get Yo Future – a radical hybrid of contemporary clowning and choral choreography; funny, anarchic and totally original from 16 – 25 October at TAPAC, Auckland.

Auckland marks Yo Future’s third outing for 2014. The localised piece has already presented in Hamilton and Invercargill this year, right off the back of successful seasons in the Wairarapa in 2013 and its premiere in Wellington in 2011.

With a handpicked group of Aucklanders of the millennial generation (born after 1984), Jo Randerson of Barbarian Productions investigates their view of the future, their fears and fascinations.

What does the world look like to you? What matters most?
What stereotypes are there of young people? What would you fight for?

From Shortland Street nurses to models to Youtube hits, the Auckland cast promises to be one of the most intriguing yet. Within the group there’s already much discussion on what is important for Auckland’s future including public transport, population growth, the performing arts and the impending zombie apocalypse…

Director Jo Randerson has developed a unique creative process collaborationg with a cross-section of younger performers – a testament to her skills as an internationally renowned artist in partnership with communities across visual arts, theatre and dance.

From France, Norway, Belgium, UK and Australia to all corners of New Zealand, she has presented her strong brand of bastardised clown – creating works that look as much like dance as theatre, yet unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Randerson’s collaboration, HULLAPOLLOI (with Kate McIntosh and Footnote Dance), won best of the Dunedin Fringe 2011 where it was described as an “endlessly watchable sequence of ludic explorations.” – J.W Marshall, Theatreview. Randerson is currently working on a pop-up hair salon in Wellington which do politician themed haircuts with coffee (a Helen Clark, anybody?).

Yo Future has been different in every place we have performed it,” says director Jo Randerson. “Although there is a skeleton for the show, it changes as different performers inhabit the piece. In Invercargill there was an emphasis on musical theatre which is a strong tradition there, in Hamilton we played outside, in the Wairarapa we had younger performers as the seniors were in exams. In Auckland we will have a totally new cast who will bring their unique energies to the piece – exciting.”

Come and see what the future has in store!

Well-wrought, compelling and salutary.’ – John Smythe, Theatreview

Yo Future plays
Dates:  16th – 19th October and 23rd – 25th October
Venue:  TAPAC, 100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland
Tickets:  $15 – $25 or Family $60.00
Bookings:  www.tapac.org.nz // 09 845 0295 ext 1
Duration:  approx. 60 minutes 

Thu, Fri, Sat only

Uncertain Futurecast

Review by James Wenley 17th Oct 2014

The Yo Future movement has been spreading across the country. First devised in Wellington in 2011, Director Jo Randerson has worked with youth from Invercargill, Hamilton, Wairarapa and asked them provocations like “What does the world look like to you?” and “what would you fight for?” to create their past, present and Yo Future.

The 14 member cast enter one by one and present themselves to us. With the audience split by traverse staging, the cast keep turning to see us all, and keep shuffling to get themselves in the right order. It’s a suitably awkward way to meet them, not quite sure of their place in the world. These are the Millennials aka Generation Y aka the Me generation aka the Peter Pan generation, born after 1984, categorised negatively by being narcissistic, lazy and politically disengaged, and categorised positively as open-minded, connected, and self-expressive. [More


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Unapologetically conceptual

Review by Nik Smythe 17th Oct 2014

Wellington-based Jo Randerson’s nationally applied project has reached Auckland, availing the substantial young local talents of two male and twelve female performers.  The cast are almost entirely new to me, so I’m only able to identify three or four by their names as listed in the hand-drawn photocopied programme – which seems ironically retro for a show imagining the future, its literally cut and pasted images reminiscent of the 80s fanzine era. 

Someone we thought was in the audience turns out to be starting the play, soon joined by two more and another, each arriving alone or in pairs, awkwardly acknowledging each other.  As each new arrival apprehensively finds their place, the whole group rearranges to accommodate them.  By the time all fourteen are here I’m considering this analogy pertinent not only to teenagers and young adults in modern western society, but actually to pretty much anyone at any point in their life. 

A bell rings, triggering a motif whereby everyone arranges themselves in a line facing either side of the traverse auditorium, periodically turning in unison.  The bell rings again, everyone repositions, and the sequence repeats several times with increasing haste, creating a rising sense of intensity and desperation.  Then a TV comes along and, again true for multiple generations, the entire cast becomes collectively engrossed. 

As I understand it, the innate structure of the conceptual narrative, such as it is, has been at the centre of each production of Yo Future, while every city in which it has played provides a local cast to bring their own attitudes, dreams and fears to the piece.  One might be expecting a certain degree of hyperactive mania from a youth-focussed production, yet the energy is just as often subdued, even serene. 

Suffice to say this is cerebral stuff, heavily concerned with stereotypes, tropes, expressionism and satire.  Ultimately I don’t necessarily understand the crux of any of these individual’s personal truths; rather I am left to digest a number of ideas brought forth from the cast’s collective theatrical application of their socio-political discussions.

The challenge of trying to achieve an all-inclusive community is demonstrated via the various social groups represented: inquisitive nerdish types, hipster wastrels, fashionista bullies and strident political activists.  All are laughably presented, connecting and more often clashing with one another to make their mark in the world.

Once the perennial crisis of disconnectivity has been established, enter the play’s centrepiece in the form of a large metal bull, reminiscent of both the Trojan horse and an iron lung, appearing from the future to tell us how it is then.  The problem is its story changes from a glorious Utopia free of war and famine to an apocalyptic social and ecological travesty.  The implication that it’s up to the actions of our generation as to which way future history swings isn’t exactly original or revelatory, but it’s still an important message worthy of reiteration. 

The generally dream-like sequences are effectively punctuated by Natasha James’ salient lighting design, while sound designer Matt Eller’s eclectic modern soundtrack is highlighted by a smattering of live music, most notably an evocative acapella chorus arranged by cast members Samantha De Silva and Jaya Beach Robertson. 

By the end of the hour-long experience, what began as a simple, clear stage has been transformed into an impressively chaotic mess of paper, coloured confetti and all manner of junk.  All-in-all it’s great to see such engaging, entertaining young performers flexing their chops in this unapologetically right-brain conceptual work, and impressive to note Randerson has spent just over two weeks with this Auckland cast.  

See also reviews of Yo Future in Wellington (October 2011), Hamilton (February 2014) and Invercargill (May 2014). A 2013 version in the Wairarapa was not reviewed.


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