The beeping and buzzing of technology, noisy traffic, the incessant shouting of social media – it never shuts up. Caught in this constant babble, how do we find stillness? This is the starting point for massive Company’s newest devised work Babble, written by the cast of 20 in collaboration with Carla Martell, Scotty Cotter and Rosie Langabeer. The Babble journey began last year when Massive Company reached out to five South Auckland schools to find their ensemble. Twenty rangatahi (youth) were selected from Ormiston Senior College, as well as students from other
colleges along with three members of Massive Nui Ensemble—the company’s training programme for emerging artists.
Babble brings dynamic physicality, inventive imagery, a multi-layered musical soundscape and a formidable cast of young South Auckland voices to the Mangere Arts Centre stage from March 18-28 as part of Auckland Arts Festival. Drawing on their own unique experiences and stories, the young performers will lift the lid on navigating the incessant noise of the world they live in— to find stillness, amongst the wall of noise caused by traffic, electronics, sirens, fireworks, technology and the constant bombardment of political rhetoric. “It’s all about the constant stimulation, growing up in a world in which it often seems as if you have to be loud to be heard,” says Cotter. The cast represents a truly diverse Auckland, with performers’ ethnicities being represented from the Maori, Samoan, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Tongan, Japanese, South Africa, Cook Island and Pakeha communities. Assistant director, Ebony Andrew says, “The great thing about working with this cast is their dedication. Not many young people would give up their summer holiday or balance a part time job with full time rehearsals or take four forms of public transport in the morning to get to rehearsal.”
The cast of 20 performers started the process of making Babble with their own personal stories and backgrounds. Themes such as exposure, globalised communities, pressures of technology and juggling the stresses of school and home life are some of the rich tapestry of experiences that contribute to the work. Ormiston College student Amanda says, “It feels amazing! Not only do I get to work with some of the most creative and talented people I have ever met, but I also get to learn from each and every one of them. Being a part of this production is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
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