Hold For Applause was a cute little production, an unrehearsed (well, only two previous read-throughs the day of) and one-show workshopping of the winner of this year’s Ontario Sears Drama Festival, selected to receive professional development as part of SummerWorks.
The young writer, Sam Godfrey, was in the audience and the director, Michael Wheeler, took notes throughout. It felt very communal, very friendly, a nice way to include the next generation of writers in SummerWorks, and to provide them with feedback and guidance.
From my understanding, this is a big part of what SummerWorks wants to be about – existing as a starting place for lower budget and lesser known theatre productions and companies. Including the work of high school students keeps with this ideal.
The read-through went well with very few glitches, and with only two readings behind them the actors had already begun to develop their characters, which made the whole thing more fun. As is expected with early readings, moments of slight melodrama occurred, but it was hard to tell if this came from the script or simply from the early stage of performance I saw it in.
Unpolished was the intention/expectation, and unpolished was what we got – and that’s just fine for forty-five minutes on a Monday afternoon. On the whole it was very easy to sink into this little story and become absorbed.
There were a number of things I found very interesting, mostly because I am currently striding the gap between young adult and “real” adult, and I can still easily remember how I wrote in high school, how I viewed the consumerist capitalist adult world that had turned its back on its youthful passions, and how I viewed art as this sacred space that could/would continually exist outside of it all.
Not to say I don’t still have these ideas, it was just very fun to watch a production written by someone younger than me about people older than me. I felt like I could see back into the writer’s position, as well as forward into his projected idea of what his future might be like.
While this unavoidably made it all seem a little naïve, I sort of think that’s perfect. It’s an accurate reflection of Godfrey’s (or his peers’) current experience, as well as his hopes and dreams and fears for what is to come.