Thursday, 29 June 2017

INNOCENCE LOST: Tacius Golding drama troupe connects with hard-hitting Blood and Trapped

REBEL SPIRIT: The student actors brought ferocious energy and conviction to the stage.

TEEN suicide, domestic abuse, sexuality, peer pressure. Issues that today’s youth population has to grapple with don’t get any realer than these, but too often they are swept under the rug. The award-winning Tacius Golding High School drama troupe shines a blinding light on these matters and sparks an open dialogue with their gritty and gripping experimental production Blood/Trapped, which provides vivid examples of the psychological damage and other long-term effects that can result when said issues go unaddressed or unresolved. 

It’s fast-paced, relentlessly energetic theatre that proves that the 13-member ensemble, under the guidance of their courageous writer-director Webster McDonald, deserved all those accolades they took home from the National Drama Finals this year and in 2016. 

In its exploration of the often dark and difficult subject matter, the production draws on choral performance, monologues, improv and an interrogative slant. In one scene, a bullied young girl uses a knife to experiment with self-cutting, much to the ire of her ferocious mother; and in another sketch, an abusive father drives fear into his defenseless young daughter. Throughout the two-hour show (split into halves devoted to Blood and Trapped respectively), we also encounter broken families, victims wallowing in pity and self-hatred, and predators licking their lips. 

As for the performers, these are outstanding student actors whose maturity and stage presence belie their teenage years. At the same time, the blend of choreography and chanting, innovative lighting design and minimalist staging goes a long way in providing audiences with a visually appealing feast that complements the compelling messages. 

McDonald and his red-and-black-clad performers give voice to countless victimized youth with Blood/Trapped, which rips and roars but also provides its own road-map to healing – and the priceless reminder that there’s a light at the end of every tunnel. Tyrone’s Verdict: A-

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