Chatroom / Pronoun

I attended a double-bill of performances by students at ALRA South, staged in the beautiful Royal Victoria Patriotic Building. Both were short plays directed by Jonathan Moore.

The first play, Pronoun by Evan Placey, explored the life of trans teen Dean (Eva Bradley-Williams) and his relationship with Josh (Rohan Nedd), his childhood sweetheart. With the help of James Dean (Nathan Warren), Josh, and his other friends, Dean learns to cope with his new life, but it is not without its awkwardness and difficulties. The play explored gender in a profound and affecting way: Bradley-Williams’ performance was superb. I was intrigued by the decision to cast a man (Joseph Arthur Jr) as Dean’s mother and a woman (Bethany Reilly) as his father, to further explore the issues of gender the production raised.

After this superb piece, the second production – Chatroom by Enda Walsh – rather fell by the wayside. It explored issues of online bullying and peer pressure, and dealt with some serious themes. However, it seemed too short to fully explore the issues and characters mentioned, and the ending seemed a little simplistic. Overall, though, this was a thought-provoking afternoon at the theatre.

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