Our April picks for schools - 2 more great plays for the classroom
Tom Healey - AustralianPlays.org Literary Manager
This month both the ‘plays’ that I have chosen are brand new and come from playwrights based (mostly) in Sydney. The first, Fight With All Your Might the Zombies of Tonight comes from Matthew Whittet, a prolific writer for young audiences whose play, Girl Asleep, featured in last month’s bulletin. The second, No Nudity, Weapons or Naked Flames, is the reason I put play in inverted commas because it is actually a collection of monologues by Sydney collective 7-ON, written especially for students of high-school age and aimed towards those studying drama and who seek contemporary Australian material for performance units.
Fight With All Your Might the Zombies of Tonight won the 2015 Foundation Commission Award administered by the extraordinarily switched-on folk at the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP). Whittet was himself a member of ATYP before he went on to study at NIDA and made a long-overdue return with this play. Set around Halloween with a gigantic cast, Fight examines the zombie phenomenon. In this case, the zombies aren’t the ‘undead’, but rather people who have lost their identities. It is full of dancing, singing, special effects and heaps of chances to get dressed up in fantastic Halloween costumes and, buried beneath its veneer of Whittet-esque frivolity is the serious message that growing up is all about accepting and embracing your unique identity.
No Nudity, Weapons or Naked Flames is a collection of bespoke, stand-alone monologues by some of the best and most experienced playwrights in the country. In their own words: “Every HSC drama student who undertakes ‘Performance’ must do an IP (Individual Performance) as part of their final exam. Playwrights’ company 7-ON has created a collection of self-contained performance texts conceived with Higher School Certificate students in mind. The 21 monologues are accompanied by notes to help young performers understand, research, and communicate each piece.” This is an extraordinary resource for high-school age drama students across the country. 7-ON is a collective of 7 contemporary playwrights. The following is taken from their website (http://sevenon.blogspot.com.au): “7-ON Playwrights was established in 2005 by Donna Abela, Catherine Zimdahl, Ned Manning, Noëlle Janaczewska, Vanessa Bates, Verity Laughton and Hilary Bell. Seven minds that don’t think alike but are simpatico in this—our belief in the transformative properties of our artform and its place in Australian culture.”
Tom Healey, Literary Manager