Stage 65 Youth Theatre Director Dave Orme is directing the youth theatre’s production The Love of the Nightingale this April. We caught up with him ahead of the production opening next week
Why did you pick The Love of The Nightingale for Stage 65 to perform in The Salberg in April?
“It’s a play that I’ve been interested in for a while. Timberlake Wertenbaker’s writing is so striking and uncompromising that she really brings difficult themes and issues to the forefront of the story. I’m always interested in Stage 65 presenting mature and challenging pieces as I feel this is where youth theatre excels. Finally, it’s just a brilliant piece of storytelling that has been expertly crafted; it’s based on an ancient Greek myth and those stories always seem to draw the imagination and linger in the zeitgeist – the ancients were truly the storytellers par excellence.”
Why is this play particularly good for the youth theatre to perform?
“It’s very timely, and youth theatre companies should be tackling contemporary issues that affect them. Young people are the future of our society and communities and they need to be able to shape our dialogues. To this end, we shouldn’t shy away from discussing issues such as violence, consent and suppression. Wertenbaker has taken these themes and presented them through the lens of an ancient Greek myth, so we are left with this production that is part storytelling, part dialogue: it involves the audience but also performs to them.”
The production is described as a “powerful ensemble style”; can you explain a bit more?
“Any actor is only as good as the actors they are on stage with. Ensemble performance means that each actor relies on the other performers to enable them to achieve excellence. We have a saying amongst the company that each individual performer abides by: “Everyone else in the room is more important than you are.” When we perform, we perform to each other and ensure that our performance is for the benefit of the other. In short, we know that the whole is greater than the sum of its part – and everyone supports each other. If you want the other performer to feel happy or sad (depending on what their character needs) then do your best to make them feel that way.
“On stage this looks like a group of performers all sharing a common goal. No ‘lead’ parts, no spotlight moments. Everyone will pitch in towards the common of goal of telling a story. They might drop out of a role to puppeteer, link a movement sequence into a scene or lend to the overall atmosphere of a moment for the audience’s benefit.”
How are rehearsals going?
“Exceptionally well, it’s always a privilege to work with such intelligent and talented young people. What becomes increasingly apparent is how much they shape the piece and become the driving force behind the major decisions taken in rehearsals. The young people I work with truly do inspire me… I’m just happy to take credit for their hard work.”
How have you and set and costume designer Hannah Wolfe approached the design of the production?
“We wanted to stay true to the ancient origins of the piece, but we also wanted to address the modern timeliness of the piece. There are moments in the piece where characters will seemingly step out of character and ‘prophesy’ about modern events. So we have this fusion of modern and the ancient. The set is almost temple like but has this industrial, brutalist form that houses this mystic energy. The costume is various wrapped pieces that you might expect an ancient Greek to wear but they are composed of modern clothing such as boots, combat trousers and modern dresses etc.”
What type of evening can audiences expect?
“It’s a challenging piece. But written and performed with delicacy and passion. It is a beautiful show with a powerful message. I always feel that the best shows tell the stories of people being people, and at its heart, this is what The Love of The Nightingale does. I really think audiences will find it a truly moving experience.”
The Love of the Nightingale runs in The Salberg from Tuesday 16 to Thursday 18 April 2019. For more information or tickets, visit www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk or call 01722 320333.