What’s happening at Unique Voice: Me+You=4Eva North Bristol school tour starts this week
It’s been a busy week at the Unique Voice office in terms of rehearsals for our upcoming tours of Me+You and Me+You=4Eva. As the show visits more and more children throughout Bristol, Sarah Fullagar tells us why she believes it is so important that the piece continues to evolve.
This time last year I was embarking on my first ever performance of Me+You=4Eva. I remember watching the children at Fair Furlong primary school walk in to the hall and wondering what they would make of what they were about to see. I didn’t think that in a years’ time I would still be working on the same project, (in all honesty I’m not sure I’d thought that far ahead), but nonetheless here I am a year on, and wonderfully I’m not at all bored of it. At all. Workshops aside (the variety of children from school to school means these are practically impossible to bore of) the performance itself has still stayed fresh and creative. Although Suzanne and I have performed together for a year, we have been joined by a whole array of guys playing Joe (leaving Suzanne somewhat convinced that she is cursed and scaring them all off).
Each of these actors has brought something different and unique to the role; differing aspects of the character’s personality have shone with each new member of the team which has had a positive knock on effect on the rest of the cast. Last week we were totally spoilt with not just one, oh no, but two new Joe’s who will be performing in the show’s different versions that tour either the East or North district of Bristol this month.
Despite the two shows involving the same characters, and indeed a very similar storyline, each version reads as an individual piece of theatre. Yes both are driven by the same message, but through their delivery, they highlight different aspects of the situations which unfold throughout the stories.
Similar to the way Joe’s character has been played has altered with each new cast, the lines and physical sequences within the play have continued to evolve thanks to the input of several specialists and the teams continual determination to ever improve the piece. Subtle changes made in the latest two versions have only helped to further improve the clarity and poignancy of the story; for instance, the addition of a physical sequence showing Joe signing on to Jessica’s facebook account has made his control seem even more invasive and extreme than previous versions. Other changes have helped to increase the emphasis on ways for the children to get help should they or people around them find themselves in a similar situation to any of the characters in the play.
I find it incredibly exciting to see this project continue to grow and develop. I have no doubt that we will continue to learn more during our next two tours, as many more children feedback their responses to the project. With work such as this, I don’t think it will ever be completely finished. There will always be other options to explore, other voices to highlight, and other methods to embark upon. I am incredibly grateful that the Unique Voice team continue to encourage this way of working, for I believe that only by practising in this way and continuing to cater for the specific audiences we may encounter will we achieve the best that we can. That statement goes for any work in this field; young people and the subjects or issues closest to their lives are never set in stone, and we as a team need to be as malleable as they are.