A Year From Now considers the question of the possible future of individuals after just one year. It’s a question with no real answer but hearing from fourteen voices what their hopes and concerns are opens the way for the audience to leave the theatre thinking on that question for themselves.
You’re going to regret saying No far more than you will ever regret saying Yes.
A Year From Now is presented at the Vaults Festival 2017 by the RedBellyBlack Theatre Company. It is a verbatim piece of theatre taking its content from fourteen voices.
The question was asked of the participants: Where, what, who would you be in a year from now? The company presents the answers in a mixture of lip-synching and movement. The participants range in age from 5-95 years of age. Oscar Scott-White, Kate Goodfellow, Clementine Mills, Christopher Montague and Jessica Warshaw are the ensemble that personify the voices.
The strength of verbatim theatre lies in the authenticity of its content to provide meaningful insight into the chosen topic. In this case the topic is of relevance to everyone. Some people think of little else and some don’t consider it at all but, whichever the case, the audience will recognize themselves somewhere in A Year From Now.
The challenge with this genre of theatre is the manner in which it’s delivered. Honouring the participants whilst engaging the audience is the balancing act. A Year From Now hits the mark well at times, as with the section based on the answers of a small child. Kate Goodfellow represents this character with a tangible sense of fun and spirit. Goodfellow is the Artistic director of the company and has produced and choreographed the piece.
However, some questionable decisions in production result in distracting the audience. Some characters have been gender reversed and some have two or more actors in the one character line. This tends to muddy the clarity of the participant’s responses and diminish the impact of the words. This is also true of a lot of the choreographed movement that seems added as an unrelated layer of performance.
RedBellyTheatre aimed, with this production, to answer one question with honesty, empathy and visual dexterity. Vicki Baron directed the piece and has devised a montage of truths to offer the audience. Some of these truths are capable of producing a profound effect, witness the quote at the top.