In an abandoned building a group of young people are forced to confront the very thing that scares them most. Themselves. The mysterious and complicated culture of inner-city youth was exploded in this gripping play, which breathed with a raw poetic language and a contemporary soundtrack.
Part street vernacular, part theatrical tradition, at times harrowing and at others searingly true – this was a play about the world of the teenage mind. Novelist and writer Courttia Newland deployed an abstract, poetic narrative style to invigorate this physical and fast paced production that toured nationally.
This production was originally developed as part of Exchange for Change 2010.
When I was cast in Look to the Sky, I was so excited as I have always respected Courttia Newland’s work as he writes so beautifully and has an edge to his work that makes him unique like Phillip Ridley and Roy Williams. Angela Michaels the director was truly incredible and made me see how an actor can take someone on such a beautiful journey if they just believe and trust what is in the script or maybe even the subtext.
I remember being told I had got the part and that we would be going on tour and I would be the only female in the group. I was a little worried as I am very girly and wasn’t sure how it would turn out.
I remember in one of my first rehearsals being asked to go back in time as my character Debs. Angela wanted me to imagine my character as a child. I then had to interact with the other characters which fascinated me. I remember Angela who was incredibly intelligent and knew so much about the script but always wanted me to be in control of what my character felt. I remember Angela making us work as a team and introducing choral movement and making sure we all moved in unison at the start of the play. I loved that. Abstract theatre is my favourite type of theatre because of Look to the Sky.
I remember having to go into rehearsal and build the set. I thought no way am I going to build the set with my bare hands so I looked over to my cast mates and thought they were strong young men who can do all the lifting. Little did I know these guys were not going to let me get away with that.
I remember the feeling of nerves as the lights went up and the mesmerizing and mystical music created by James Grant came on and I would have to hide behind the stage and get ready to introduce the audience to the mysterious and complicated culture of inner city youths. I remember going to different venues and thinking how one venue would be so small and another so big. The get ins and get outs were the hardest. We would have to create the stage and build it which would take almost two hours and then go and perform. The joys of being an actor means you have to improvise when needed.
I still have the Look to the Sky CD by James Grant. Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of the days when East London was for sure my second home and Half Moon Theatre will always have a place in my heart .
Look to the Sky – soundtrack