Yo Future

Whitireia Performance Centre, 25-27 Vivian Street, Wellington

18/10/2011 - 23/10/2011

Production Details


With a Jo Randerson play you expect to be entertained with the off beat, the quirky, and the downright odd…” (Laurie Atkinson, DomPost 2009)

17 young performers. One crazy award-winning theatre-maker. Add some inter-generational tension and a planet on the verge of collapse and you’ll get YO FUTURE – a radical hybrid of contemporary clowning and choral choreography; funny, angry and totally original.

Following the success of SHEEP, Long Cloud embarks on its newest collaboration.

YO FUTURE is the next stage of developing a wider vision for the Company. Over the past ten weeks the actors have been devising with Jo Randerson, creating a work that explores those questions that plague us as a modern society: What does the world look like for young people? With what attitude will they lead us ahead?

Artistic Director Aaron Cortesi: “What has attracted to me Long Cloud over the years is the wild, raw passion they exude in every performance. I can think of no better way to fuel this fire than by chucking Jo Randerson into the mix. YO FUTURE has given this cast a voice. It is provocative, playful and unique. It makes you want to grow some chops, get out of your chair, and fight back!”

YO FUTURE opens a window onto a streetscape of roaming herds of ‘youth’, grazing on identity and locking horns with each other over cultural territory. Who or what are these creatures? Do they know what they are doing? And what are they going to do with this mysterious object they’ve been given?

YO FUTURE builds on Jo Randerson’s new theatrical direction of strong physical scoring combined with bastardised clown to create works that look as much like dance as theatre, yet unlike either you’ve ever seen before. Her most recent collaboration, HULLAPOLLOI (with Kate McIntosh and Footnote), won best of the Dunedin Fringe 2011 where it was described as an “endlessly watchable sequence of ludic explorations.” (J.W Marshall, Theatreview)

Long Cloud Youth Theatre is a hothouse for New Zealand’s most exciting young acting talent. Long Cloud, run by Whitireia Performing Arts Company and based in Wellington, is a unique training and production company for young people aged 16-21. The Company gives young actors the means to enhance their theatrical skills through practical performance experience and the opportunity to work with Wellington’s foremost theatrical directors and tutors.

Company credits are SHEEP (2011), DAUGHTERS OF HEAVEN (2011), EQUUS (2010), THE SEAGULL (2010), VERNON GOD LITTLE (2010), TITUS ANDRONICUS (2009), THE CRUCIBLE (2009), GRIMM & COLONY! (2008 & 2009) and SPRING AWAKENING (2008).

18th October-23rd October. Tue-Sat @ 8pm, Sun @ 3pm.
WHITIREIA THEATRE, 25-27 Vivian St, Wellington

Devised by Jo Randerson & Cast 
Directed by Jo Randerson 

Set & Costume Design Emma Nichols 
Lighting & Sound Design Matthew Eller 
Singing Coach Hayley Sproull 
Photography Michelle Ny & Philip Merry 
Publicity Thomas Lahood, Laura Hewetson & Aaron Cortesi 
Production Management Aaron Cortesi, Matthew Eller & Alan Palmer 
Produced by Long Cloud Youth Theatre in association with Whitireia New Zealand 

Emanuelle Bains 
Frankie Berge
Mitchell Bernard
Kate Burry
Lily della Porta 
Daniel Emms 
Mae Grant 
Patrick Hunn 
Tom Kereama 
Jared Kirkwood 
Emma Maddox 
Lewis McLeod 
Grace Morgan-Riddell 
Nino Raphael 
George Ritchie 
Laura Robinson 
Freya Sadgrove 
Ana Scotney 
Oscar Shaw 
Emma Simons 
Vicky Struthers 
Hannah Wilson  

Mortality and anarchy loom large

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 20th Oct 2011

Yo Future starts and ends with the 22-strong cast watching a programme being shown on television. At the beginning they are a close-knit group entwined on and about a small sofa, laughing and sighing at what ever it is the drama is all about.

At the end they are still a group but standing slightly apart, mesmerised by the television, and grimly aware of the words of the song by Leonard Cohen they have just sung: Everybody Knows.

What happens between the beginning and the end of this hour-long performance is an exploration in mime, dance, stage magic, and youthful energy and imagination of what everybody knows but chooses to ignore: everybody knows the dice are loaded.

Apart from a mad magician’s rant as her tricks, cards and dice fail to produce the desired results, there is no dialogue. Scenes merge into each other, some amusing, some threatening.

Busy politicians and men with brief cases walk swiftly by, wrapped in their own importance, while a group of hippies/ layabouts/ unemployed (call them what you will) watch indifferently. Mum and Dad provide a huge birthday present in the form of gift-wrapped promise-for- a-better-future which turns out to be nothing of the kind. It is, however, the best piece of stage magic I’ve seen in a long time. 

Eventually things fall apart and the centre cannot hold and mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The scene of anarchy is the least effective largely because there is no emotional involvement with characters because there are no characters to care about. 

But Jo Randerson and her highly disciplined cast have created a dynamic and often exciting piece of theatre that captures well the underlying unease of our times that is expressed in such movements as Occupy Wall Street, The Tea Party, The Arab Spring and in such events as mass unemployment and the economic crisis the world over, not to mention ecological disasters and global warming. Everyone knows the plague is coming, everybody knows it’s moving fast.  


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Well-wrought, compelling and salutary

Review by John Smythe 19th Oct 2011

This show brings a whole new feel to the work of Long Cloud Youth Theatre. If you thought you’d detected a ‘house style’ emerging – e.g. high energy, camp, loud and festive – over the mostly very impressive 16 productions the ever-changing company has so far packed into less than four years, think again.

Yo Future is something else.  Devised by its director Jo Randerson and her cast of 22, it works a treat, not least in areas that are often pocked with pitfalls.

Debate has raged over the value of devising (see the forum) but this does not involve a group trying to write a play that suffers from over-written dialogue (there’s hardly any) and premature performance syndrome (it’s very ready). Yo Future could not have evolved any other way than through devising, although having a proven playwright at the helm has doubtless brought value to the form, content and structure.

As for asking us to “take what you will” from their “open to interpretation” production, that can often be a cop-out. Here, however, it is entirely valid because what we witness is a wondrous mix of readily recognisable motifs of modern life that raise universal and timeless questions which (to quote the final song) “everybody knows” but few have answers for. And if they do, they differ.

That song is the most vocal the large cast gets in the hour-long show. Silence features in the most golden moments, in sequences that have evolved through weeks of playing with clowning, dance and Laban movement analysis.  

It starts with a sofa and a TV set (facing up stage). One-by-one the cast are drawn to ogling it … Just as I’m thinking yes, it is such a mind-numbing time-waster, their beautifully rendered collective ‘aaah’s and laughter give me a positive snapshot of a heart-warming communal experience. Then something fearsome emanates …

If that is the prologue, the ‘dumbshow’ précis of what is to come is played out with Freya Sadgrove’s solo clown: innocent of experience, intrigued, inquisitive, delighted, amazed … and compulsively given to self harm in the quest for … who-knows-what?  

Groups form. Indolent but happy Hedonists float and glide while fully focused Professionals thrust and press. Then come the Hoodies, sustained and light yet dark and brooding; threatening in their stillness; poised to … what? This is minimalist theatre of menace at its best. And very funny.

Every assessment and judgement you are likely to make about these people will be subverted or at least thrown up for question in the sequences that follow. Can abduction and forced face-painting be part of a peaceful protest? What is that Guy Fawkes motif beloved by activists around the globe all about anyway (wasn’t he a Catholic terrorist)? Which is better: to be part of a group or independent? When is independence isolation and who imposes which on whom? Can there ever be such a thing as freedom of choice? 

The introduction of a guitar to the Hoodies is a fabulous game-changer. I won’t say how except to say Nino Raphael plucks those strings exquisitely and the effect on the group is sublime … until it proves otherwise. All I will add is that when I suggest this is not text-based theatre, that is not to say there is no texting in it.

The big ‘production number’, as it were, involves a large gift box, wheeled on by a stock Dad and Mum couple (Lewis McLeod and Lily della Porta). The ‘box of tricks’ it proves to be – the awe-inducing illusions and delusions it trades in – makes for visually splendid and thought-provoking theatre. It offers everything and nothing; stuff that seems desirable until it proves its worthlessness.

Again, I don’t want to reveal too much except the oil spill is inspired. (I had to ask, afterwards, how recently it was introduced and was told it had been created long before the Rena ran into the Astrolabe. Prescient!)

Frankie Berge puts in a manic turn as a very dodgy magician, spewing semi-intelligible messages as she tries to wow us with her crappy magic. Others emerge with alternative messages and – no surprises here – the majority, the mob, the apathetic and complacent ones, soon put paid to her carry on. And speaking of paid, the box becomes a money dispenser and in a few well-crafted minutes it becomes blindingly obvious why disaffection engenders riots, looting and anarchy. Study the details when you see it: everyone is capturing a significant aspect of the whole catastrophe.

Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ makes for a powerful ending, sung by all 22 of the cast (coached by Hayley Sproull) until the glowing TV sucks them away one by one … leaving George Ritchie to sing solo (and very well) – “Everybody know that’s how it goes, everybody knows…” – until he too goes. And this time they seem isolated together.

I’ve mentioned some individuals but the ensemble work is exemplary so all the others have to be mentioned too: Emanuelle Bains, Mitchell Bernard, Kate Burry, Daniel Emms, Mae Grant, Patrick Hunn, Tom Kereama, Jared Kirkwood, Emma Maddox, Grace Morgan-Riddell, Laura Robinson, Ana Scotney, Oscar Shaw, Emma Simons, Vicky Struthers and Hannah Wilson. 

Emma Nichols’ costume designs speak volumes about each group; her couch, TV and magical illusion gift box serve the production superbly. Matthew Eller’s lighting and sound design also add excellent texture to an extremely well-wrought, compelling and salutary hour.    


Richard Grevers October 28th, 2011

 "What is that Guy Fawkes motif beloved by activists around the globe all about anyway (wasn't he a Catholic terrorist)? "

John, you need to rent and watch the film V For Vendettaenlightenment will follow! The prevalence of masks highlights the relevance of that film to the occupy/people power movement.

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