BWW Review: DROPOUT at Tandanya Theatre
This is true, modern theatre. For the first time the entire four branches of True North Youth Theatre Ensemble have been bought together for a show, Dropout, which was born from a meeting between the Commissioner for Youth, and the talented actor and producer, Alirio Zavarce. Five months later, we are presented with this extraordinary, emotional piece of real youth representation as part of the DreamBIG Children's Festival.
At its heart, this is a showing/showcasing of youth issues with the education system, and the multitude of problems faced by those who, for whatever reason, don't fit in. It's a deeply thought provoking piece which, coming from those most affected, has the power to retrospectively change minds over our own youth and make us question our position in the hierarchy of age.
With the participation of nearly forty young people, with ages ranging from six to twenty, a powerful and clear message is presented which unites as it shows differences. Zavarce's vision ensures clarity, and his respect of the voices of these young people, makes the emotional message the focus, with some of the stories acted out moving the audience to tears.
Controlled chaos reflects the turmoil of thought and struggle for understanding of position within imposed systems. Stark lighting from Brad Thomson and minimalist set design by Rachel Thompson allowed freedom of movement of the large numbers of the cast, whilst cleverly echoing the combined openness with containment and enforced levels of dominance that is embedded in school architecture.
Large screen film projection by Mitre Khammash added to the overall moods and theme of the performance. Tyson Olson composed the music and performed live, with the help of the cast, which was perfect in amplifying the changing moods of the piece, without distracting. This show bleeds into real life, unifying and creating necessary social networking and attempts at understanding, whilst giving a much needed voice to those who may often feel powerless.