Dublin Youth Theatre
Some productions are made for the stage. Dublin Youth Theatre’s Rising, though it takes place in the Peacock, and with great success, is not one of those productions. This show, developed by Helena Enright, Tom Creed and the cast, is the sort of production that should stop the traffic on O’Connell Street, interrupt the feeding of ducks in Stephen’s Green or stir up the orderly queue at the Tesco checkouts. Described as a “wide-ranging contemporary look at what revolution means to young people now,” this production uses archive material, interviews, iconic songs and the boundless energy of the 20-strong Dublin Youth Theatre cast to awaken a range of ideas and ask vital questions about revolution, youth, art and activism.
In a series of vignettes, working with movement, music and text, the production explores various social issues and political causes through the years, probing the reasons behind why people engage, what makes people care. Decked out in an array of shirts and badges from the Palestinian Freedom Theatre, the Repeal the 8th movement, the Yes Equality campaign, and many others, the cast presents a strong ensemble that, though they may not all be united in the same causes, are powerfully united in their energy and enthusiasm towards taking a stand and making a difference.
Not only do the cast present a strong political energy, they also produce an impressive work in terms of artistic quality. The versatility of the performers, with many doubling as musicians as well as actors, and all engaging in dynamic movement pieces was impressive and engaging. Alongside this, Sarah Jane Shiels’ lighting design is the North Star guiding the energy of the piece, as even the most subtle changes in lighting have a pointed effect on the mood and perfectly parallel the tone of the script.
Rising will make you reconsider any presumptions you may have had about young people’s supposed political apathy, and leave you inescapably and inexhaustibly awake.