Our Quarry Theatre has been buzzing with its usual activity this week, and with rehearsals well underway for our next school production, Brainstorm, the workings of the teenage brain has been centre stage.
Life as a teenager is not easy; it is confusing, frustrating and terrifying, but it is exciting, vibrant and electrifying at the same time. This unique theatrical investigation, into how teenagers’ brains work, and why they’re designed by evolution to be the way they are is based on the boys’ own experiences. Created with cognitive neuroscientist Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, and drawing upon the life experiences of the cast, Brainstorm is a thrilling exploration of the most frustrating, chaotic and exhilarating changes that will ever happen to us.
Inside every adolescent brain, 86 billion neurons connect and collide to produce the most frustrating, chaotic and exhilarating changes that will ever happen to us.
The science provides the structure of the play while the boys’ experiences, written by two Remove Formers, Harry Hine and Max Alexander, cover an array of sensitive subjects including dyslexia, bullying, anxiety and the stresses involved in living up to expectations. In addition to gathering these real-life experiences and weaving them into a script, Harry and Max have taken on the role of director – not an easy task when the actors are your own peers.
Max told us, “The boys have been amazing and it has been great the way they have developed the stories and played a big part in how the script has unfolded.”
On stage, a serene set is cluttered with teenagers fixated on their mobile devices. Energy, honesty and authenticity radiate with stories straight from the heart. Watch out for the incredible ‘brain scan’ scene where the boys take part in a survey, holding their phones up and illuminating their answers; a flash of light for ‘yes’, no light for ‘no’. Beginning with basic questions like “Do I look like my Dad?” the survey dares to ask more serious questions such as, “Do I feel under pressure to perform well at school?” and moving up the scale to very risqué. The audience’s scruples are also put to the test in an interactive session called ‘Never Have I Ever’.
The boys on stage tell stories of real experiences with passion and meaning and with a comic timing and wit which we guarantee will make you laugh. Just one-hour long, this production should go some way to explain the inner workings of your teenager, or perhaps your own teenage self. Every parent should see the show and hear the message that these boys so powerfully and authentically communicate; “You say to me, your brain is broken. It’s like an adult brain, but it doesn’t work properly. I say to you, my brain isn’t broken. It’s like this for a reason. I am becoming who I am”
Brainstorm is being performed at our Quarry Theatre on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 May at 7:30pm. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased from the theatre Box Office.
Teacher of Drama and Lead Director, Mrs Caroline Millington told us, “I felt that Brainstorm offered the boys a unique opportunity to express their own personal experiences, whilst still providing them with a framework to devise and script around. The play is centred on the boys involved, and it has really allowed them to get to know one another better. The process has been challenging and rewarding for the boys in equal measure. In particular, our student directors Harry Hine and Max Alexander have worked incredibly hard scripting the play and shaping the piece. They have demonstrated both dedication and creativity, and I have been incredibly impressed with their efforts. We have also been very lucky to be able to work with Miles Leven, our Assistant Theatre Manager, who has not only been on hand to support the process, but he has also designed a very exciting set for the boys.”