Feature: YAP Report #1

Date posted: 30 Jan 2012Author: STC

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The STC YAP (STC Youth Advisory Panel) event for Never Did Me Any Harmon Friday January 20 was a resounding success. The show was not as easy to classify, being variously described by audience members as nourishing/disconcerting/striking/complex.

For our pre-show party we dressed the small rehearsal room as an eerie backyard, with plastic chairs and fake grass, a life-size doll with a ghostly grin and limbs akimbo, plus a worn-out baby-basket at the bar. The evening sun melted as we listened to rock song lullabies and the group spilled out on the balcony to enjoy the view. The crowd sipped, munched, babbled and crunched, then Loki Ball gave a speech and introduced the new YAP members.

After watching the performance, we had the opportunity speak to the actors, and Kate Champion, the director. One of our panellists, Vaish, led the post-show Q&A with aplomb. She was as curious as the crowd to know how the design of the movement was set to words, if the parents in the cast agreed with the actions of their characters, how Sarah Jayne Howard took on the demanding body work when she was heavily pregnant, and whether Vincent Crowley thinks children should be allowed to climb trees. Then Vaish announced results of our pre-show survey - 70% of respondents would not slap their kids. When asked if the show changed anyone's mind, the crowd gave uncertain murmurs - clearly this subject continues to have the power to unsettle us.

Cast member Sarah Jayne drew a winner from our survey pool, who received two free tickets to our next event for Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Lucky! We made our way to the STC Sydney Festival Pop-up Bar, assured by all that the night was a success. But our thoughts and emotions were up in the air - and up for discussion. Theatre does that to you, like nothing else.

Words by Toby Leon
Photos by Ian Hancock

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