Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Amalgam is all about community, bravery, and sharing

Neptune’s young performers offer a challenge to audiences: to find themselves in these scenes.

The students of Neptune Theatre’s Youth Performance Company (YPCo) present the culmination of their work created this summer through YPCo’s Acting Bootcamp. The group of 13 to 18-year-olds, under the leadership of industry professionals, has spent two weeks creating and developing this carefully crafted amalgam of scenes, text, and more.

In the spirit of showcasing what the teens have been learning, it made sense to present an amalgamation of different pieces instead of one bigger project.

We learn more in this Q&A with Maddie Maitzen, one of YPCo’s Acting Bootcamp instructors.

Amalgam plays at Neptune Theatre’s Imperial Studio on September 1 & 2. Visit tickethalifax.com for tickets and information.

This interview has been edited.

Tell us about Amalgam. What can audiences expect?

Amalgam is the culmination of work created this summer through Neptune Theatre’s Youth Performance Company’s (YPCo) Acting Bootcamp.

An ensemble of fourteen 13–18-year-olds has been diving into monologues and scene work from a variety of plays, learning how to dissect the text and translate it into their bodies to create visceral, rich, and memorable moments. In addition, they were tasked with working on material from different genres, periods, and characters meant to encourage and challenge.

With the help of skill-building activities, masterclass-style coaching, and peer-led collaboration, the teens have transformed their assigned texts into lively, engaging performances. Along with incorporating these published works, the group has devised an original overarching script that ties together the lives and experiences of various characters living in different worlds.

What was the inspiration for Amalgam?

A significant part of the training has been becoming familiar with a wide scope of repertoire. In the spirit of showcasing what the teens have been learning, it made sense to present an amalgamation of different pieces instead of one bigger project. This way, we can stick to our “process over product” mindset, which is something we’ve been emphasizing during the past two weeks.

The organic friendships formed at camp led us to devise a work based on the beauty of community and the individual voices within it. This group works seamlessly together, but each ensemble member has a unique perspective and something special to share, which is exactly what our show is about.

Why this particular show now?

With restrictions opening and live theatre returning, it’s important to give young performers a taste of this path’s potential. The students will get to experience an audience receiving the moments that have become so sacred and personal to them in the rehearsal room but haven’t yet reached an outsider’s ear.

The anticipation of this exciting exchange of emotions and energy has propelled the students into allowing themselves to be more vulnerable, taking risks, and opening themselves up to constructive feedback and direction.

This show is about community, bravery, and sharing, which are values that we felt needed to be presented, considering all that Halifax’s community has gone through over the past couple of years.

What do you hope audiences leave Amalgam talking about?

Audiences will be impressed by these teen performers’ high calibre of talent. They have passion and drive, pushing them to take their craft seriously. Their hard work is evident in their ability to fully embody characters and make each performance genuine and meaningful.

We hope audiences will be excited about this new generation of performers and where their creativity and talent will take them down the road.

Why should someone come to see Amalgam?

Each character featured in this showcase has a conflict to overcome, whether it be grappling with loss; finding their power; struggling with loneliness, or trying to help someone in need. These moments will resonate with audiences from all backgrounds and experiences.

Neptune’s young performers offer a challenge to audiences: to find themselves in these scenes. The students have done this to present their most authentic interpretations of the works. There is lots to be discovered through this process, and we hope the audience will learn from this experience just as the students did.

Amalgam plays at Neptune Theatre’s Imperial Studio on September 1 & 2. Visit tickethalifax.com for tickets and information.

The Halifax Fringe Festival returns to live in-person performances from September 1 through September 11, with more than 55 productions taking place at venues across the downtown and North End neighbourhoods.

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