FRINGE REVIEW – Youth and Will: A Portrait of Shakespeare’s Young Characters… and Us

It is worth quoting from the publicity for Youth and Will:
“Zikit make their world debut with ‘Youth and Will’, an original devised performance, bringing together our contemporary world and that of the bard and in the process inviting us on a journey of existential exploration. Using the storytelling theatre genre, original live music and the simple magic of the actor and the spoken word, new light is shed on some of the world’s greatest dramatist’s best-loved works, showing them to be as relevant today as ever before.”
Such claims could easily presage a work of self-indulgent worthiness, but Zikit deliver a gem: light-hearted humour gracing emotional depth and some fundamental life questions. Three actors whose first language does not appear to be English – in no way a problem here – show how Shakespeare’s characters live with us still to this day through the gifts of their own stories.
In each actor’s life, Shakespeare and theatre helped them to find a connection to their own world and feelings, discovering truths about themselves or about how they wished to live their lives. For Orna Salinger, Shakespeare’s characters meant ‘I was not alone’, for Natalie Fainstein, Viola from Twelfth Night brought the recognition ‘that was me!’ and Dori Engel connected with Hamlet’s reminder of humanity, the theatre’s role in society – “to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to nature; to show Virtue her own feature, Scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure”. The issues with which Shakespeare helped, and even hindered, these actors are the stories they share with their audience.
The Shakespeare sections presenting characters from Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night‘s Dream and Hamlet, as well as glances at other plays and sonnets, are well-performed – emotionally, mentally and physically connected. Added to that is the extra thrill of the connection to each actor’s personal journey. These three, with the help of a musical accompanist (Tamar Sidi) and minimal props (look out for the extension lead!) conjured laughter and tears in their audience and showed some hope for their final question: can theatre change reality?
Youth and Will has only a short run – catch it if you can!
By Danielle Farrow
6 – 10 August, 12:00 (12:50) @ C soco
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