REDWAY >> If you wonder how young people perceive the confusing world of media, technology, marijuana, surveillance, corporate ownership and income inequality, gender and transgender issues, drugs, fear and electronic technology, Recycled Youth’s Channel 707 will be presented this week and provide an opportunity to see a theatre production that 21 local young people have created about those topics.
Recycled Youth has been produced every year for 17 years, giving local youth an opportunity to experience creativity and collaborative theater and a forum to share their perspectives. This year students from Whale Gulch School, Academy of the Redwoods, Independent Study, and South Fork High School worked together with the directors to create a relevant and highly entertaining social commentary.
In thirteen weeks, under the direction of Joani Rose with Susan Alexander and Yarrow Danaeus, the talented actors, who range in age from 13 to 18, have created a thoughtful, sensitive and entertaining show. This year’s presentation approaches current issues with intelligence and sensitivity, and the show is honest and forthright. Humor, song and dance are interspersed with exploration of the implications of modern dilemmas and how they effect the country, the local area and young people.
Music for the show is provided by Jeanne York and Andy Barnett and the aerial silk and trapeze pieces were directed by Danaeus.
The show was written by the actors as culmination of 13 weeks of collaboration with the experienced directors. It will be presented at the Mateel Community Center in Redway on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Dec. 4, 5, and 6, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m.
Last Tuesday I attended the first complete “off the book” run through, which means they performed the whole show without using their scripts. As the cast performed, the directors made notes and fine tuned some of the staging and transitions.
This year’s production is built around television, sort like of network television meets the San Francisco Mime Troupe, only more subtle and relevant to Southern Humboldt. Music, dance and aerial acts are incorporated into the stories.
Vignettes are introduced by news anchors, whose reports and commentary highlight the topics, and many of the pieces are presented as shows. One is an investigative news show with panel of experts on marijuana that presents differing views of marijuana in general, and another piece is specifically about local marijuana culture. There is a modern retelling of the Snow White fairy story that makes more sense than the original. There is an investigative show about McLardo’s Fast Food and all the good it does or does not do. The dilemma and contradictions of too much technology is central to several of the pieces.
The pervasiveness of technology and loss of privacy and personal identity are taken up in several pieces, as well as media and its impacts on identity and body image. There is a hilarious spoof of popular television in a piece called Pop Idol that pokes fun at musical preferences and judgement. Gender identity is sensitively handled in a vignette with seven actors.
Music for the show is provided by Jeanne York and Andy Barnett. The show is produced by the Mateel Community Center, with support from the Madeline Coker Memorial Fund, Jake Correll Memorial Fund, Garberville Civic Club and many local business and community members. Many local people donate their talents to help in the production of the show.
As in life, the Channel 707 does not provide easy solutions, but with such perceptive and talented young people willing to make such a commitment to share their clear-sighted observations of the world, there is hope for a wiser future.