VOT I LIKED:Storyline- ideas made senseContent- was not childish at all, was quite seriousMost of the acting was done well, it made me believe that the actors were actually the people who they portrayed. I found the lighting extremely effective! The colour changes by whatever room they were in really worked for me, especially when it was showing they were in the party. The way the lights were dimmed and coloured made me really feel like i was inside a party room. When each individual actor was presenting their monologues, the spotlights felt as if they were horizontal rather than coming from above, which made it feel more like I was at their level in the same room, rather than in a theatre. I basically really liked how close I was sitting to the stage.
There wasn’t a “happily ever after” cuz those don’t exist!VOT I DIDN’T LIKE:Ending/Epilogue- crammed too many explanations, too much to process and handle into five minutes; Acting became slightly dramatic at times; I’m not sure if that was just her character, but Mer projected her voice and emotions a bit too much, it felt like overacting sometimes. When Jay would be talking in his monologues, it didn’t feel like a monologue to me, it felt more like he was talking to a class for a presentation or something. He showed his emotions, but at times they were too less or too much. (too less: when going to Rosie, too much; when he was getting mad, I wasn’t thoroughly convinced that he actually was mad)Boxes: (more to be said in ‘STAGING’)____________________________________________________________________________ Summary & review of plot:The play “Instant” by Erin Shields is about 3 teens named Rosie, Jay, and Meredith. Jay and Mer are close friends, who both have dreams they want to come true.
Jay wants to become a professional hockey player, while Mer wants to become a singer. They have already taken a few steps to their goals, for Jay is already on a hockey team, and Mer sings covers on her Youtube channel, despite the fact that she’s already written a few of her own songs. Rosie on the other hand, is struggling with the fact that her dad has MS. She desperately needs money for an extremely expensive treatment, so she starts a campaign on Youtube, which involves her singing and asking the viewers to help raise money.
Rosie goes viral, which makes Mer immensely jealous. At a party all three of them go to, Mer encourages Rosie to do something inappropriate while she’s drunk to Jay, which puts their friendship in jeopardy. Rosie gets so much hate from social media, that she decides to commit suicide. However, she is stopped at the last moment by Jay and Mer, who thoroughly regrets the decisions she’s made. All of the struggles each of them had seem not to completely go away, but they are able to cope with them better. The play ends with the three of them explaining in a monologue what happened to them afterwards.
I’d have to say, this play did not disappoint me. I was unsure whether I would enjoy watching a play that was supposedly made for people my age, considering the fact that most of the time, teenagers watch netflix or go on social media, not watch people performing on a stage. But after going to see “Instant”, written by Erin Shields, produced by Geordie productions, and directed by Dean Patrick Fleming, I changed my mind. Whenever I think of theatrical production, a large, grand stage comes to mind, with affluent people sitting in the crowd, and classical music playing in the background. What amazes me is that YPT took all of the required elements for a theatre and shrunk it to the size of an average room, taking away all of the 1800s feel to it, and making it much more modern. Instead of having colossal spotlights shining from above, there were smaller ones, that gave the same effect because along with everything, the size of the stage shrunk too. It could have had the same music and audience though, if the story had been different, for example “Romeo and Juliet” or “Beauty and the Beast”. Putting plays or movies into theatre really depends on the story, not on the fact that it was a movie or not.
I think theatre would work with most stories, the staging just needs to be done very well so that people in the audience can imagine the rest of the scene. The play itself could have been a short video if it were to be recorded on a camera, but that would have killed the effect of reality that I got. A lot of short videos that are made for people to learn lessons from usually don’t have an effect on me, because it’s more obvious that there’s a bunch of actors who are acting.
When I saw the play, it was much more difficult to tell that the three of them were actors and not actually part of a theatrical production, because there were so many other elements to take in, from the lighting and the music to where you were sitting and the staging. The general storyline did not have a particular ‘beginning’, ‘middle’, and ‘end’, like most stories do, as “Instant” was more like following along with the lives of the characters. Real lives of people everyday are not played out in beginnings and happily ever afters. Throughout the play, the storyline made sense, as not only the actors spoke clearly so that I could understand, but also that the story was mostly evenly paced, and easy to observe and keep track of. However, one thing that I didn’t like was that the last five minutes of the play itself was crammed up with too much information about their future lives. I think Jay, Rosie, and Mer were talking way too fast, and I barely caught anything they were saying. If the performance were to portray the ending better, they should have added a bit more time, even five more minutes would have gave them more time to talk out the end so that one could understand. I found the play quite intriguing, as although I try not to show it, I have a very short attention span before wandering off.
Most of the time I was into the story, believing that I too was there, not as a main character but someone who was in the back, following them in each room (Not like a stalker…). At times however, when the sounds in the background got louder, or all of a sudden something happened, I’d find myself snapped back to reality, or I’d poke my partner beside me, just to wave off the reality shock. Every so often, I’d miss a bit of the play, left thinking about a scene that had passed by. The story was an interesting one; I can’t say that I personally relate to it much, because I don’t really have an Instagram or Youtube account, and like to stay away from social media except for texting one or two friends.
I also didn’t have the same problems as any of them, because my case is generally quite different. I understand what they were going through, because it was clearly shown. Acting:Meredith was played by Michelle Rambahlose. Jay was played by Dakota Jamal Wellman, and Rosie was played by Leah Fong.
I think the actors brought their characters to life very strongly, because the way they spoke and acted really made me believe that their name was Meredith, or Rosie, or Jay. The emotions and expressions that they showed were very efficient, especially when they were showing their everyday selves. For example, when Rosie was not in her senses in the party, I think she played being drunk extremely well. I honestly believed that she was drinking too much, and when she staggered over to Mer, the way she spoke was in a bit of a louder voice, and walked lopsided a bit. I also think that Meredith played being jealous of Rosie remarkably well too.
Her monologues clearly showed that she was jealous, and didn’t want to say it full out. The hand gestures that she used really showed her feelings, and showed her expressions. Jay used very good body gestures while fighting an imaginary person, but I could imagine that there was someone being beaten up in front of him. So yes, the actors aced bringing their characters to life. The voices were projected very efficiently too. Even Rosie, who was quiet and shy in personality, spoke so that you could tell she was speaking in a quieter manner, and I was still sure that all the people in the back could hear her voice too. Mer and Jay already had normal and loud voices for their characters, but even if Jay were shouting, it wasn’t that muffled. At times however, I think they spoke a bit too fast for me to understand.
The emotions they showed were close to reality. However, Leah Fong could have done a better job portraying Rosie’s emotions when she was about to commit suicide. I think Rosie looked more like a slightly nervous child compared to being in the last seconds of her life. If she had cried a bit, or expressed her feelings better, I would have been more drawn into the scene. At that time, I’d been drawn out of the play, and found it slightly boring, for because of her weak acting, the moment did not get to me. When Dakota Jamal Wellman would be showing his anger or temper to Mer, or the hockey player he attacked, I don’t think he showed his emotions well either. He looked determined, but not angry. His voice was not convincing either, for it sounded like speaking a script, which it was, but we weren’t supposed to think of that.
I am not sure whether I just didn’t like Mer’s general over reacting character, but I think she was a bit extra, especially in her monologues. At times when she was showing her jealousy, I could tell she was jealous, but it was slightly further from reality. No one who is jealous shows it as much as she did. At the other times in the play, I did like how they showed emotions, and it was done very well. The body language was very clear. The way they acted around the scene, I could clearly imagine what was happening.
Although I didn’t like the staging, the way they revolved around it was also done quite well. However, as I mentioned above, the facial expressions could have been expressed better. Although in most scenes, the actors showed their emotions well, it could have been improved. LIGHTING: The lighting director was Andrea Lundy. The lighting really enhanced the mood quite a bit. Both where it was directed and the colour of the lights emphasized what they wanted you to focus on. I particularly liked the pulsing coloured lights during the party, which gave the perfect feeling that I was in that room, not only because of the music, but because of the fact that the lights were coloured and changing from time to time, making it feel They did a really good job of directing my attention towards whichever person was speaking, or what they wanted to be the focal point. When the actors did their individual monologues, the way that the beam of light wouldn’t be shining on them from above, it would be shining on them as though it were right in front of them.
This gave an effect that I liked seeing that it gave out an atmosphere that I was the in the scene.MUSIC:For the music, I didn’t even realize that it was playing in the background most of the time because it fit so well with whichever scene was going on. I especially like how the background music wasn’t just music, and there were also people talking in the background. For example, when Jay, Mer, and Rosie were at the hockey game, there wasn’t any music in the background, but the general air of being in a hockey arena. I’ve been to a few hockey games, and the way people’s yells and shouts echoed worked really well. Similarly, when the three were at a party, there was background music, but also a general chatter which is heard in parties or gatherings.
The music itself, on the other hand, moved really well with whatever the mood was. If the moment was a depressing one, the music slowed down. When Jay was getting angry at the hockey game, it sped up a bit. One really great effect was that I got so into the play, that when the music and sound stopped all of a sudden when Rosie was running away from the party, it suddenly had me realize that there was music and chatter in the background, but only three actors on a stage, not a room crowded with people. If there hadn’t been music, like how we present drama in class, then it would have been difficult to get into the scene. It would feel less realistic, and more fictitious.
The sound and music was produced by Devon Bate.THE ‘THEATRE SPACE’: I’m not sure everyone in the audience would be able to feel the effect of being with the actors on the set, really being on the scene, for the people sitting all the way in the back were probably unable to. I was sitting in the second-to-front row, and therefore, felt that I was inside the scene.
However, the people all the way in the back must not have felt that way, for there would be a whole bunch of heads of the audience in front, losing that aura. We were about 100 people, so they obviously would need to have quite a few seats for people to sit. If the audience had fewer seats from the top down, then everyone would have really felt being in a smaller theatre. Still, I think the performance space was a perfect size for this play. If it had been any larger, the actors would need to take longer than they already had to push aside boxes and make the new scene. If the stage had been any smaller, the whole scene would become cramped, for they still needed room for the boxes stacked in the background, and room for themselves to go backstage when not in the scene. So overall, the performance space was altogether good for this production.DANCE:There was a very short involvement of dance in the play when Rosie danced for a bit in the video she recorded while trying to raise money for her dad.
However, it was really unnecessary for her to do that because it wouldn’t have made a difference whether she danced or not. Meredith wasn’t jealous of her dancing, she was jealous of her singing. She didn’t mention the fact that she was dancing either. In fact, I had completely forgotten about the fact that this part was involved, as it was so minor and needless.
I actually don’t think the director thought of the dance to be important either. I personally think that it was included to show Rosie’s shy and awkward personality, rather than actually being a routine. If they had wanted to add a dance to this play that actually had an effect, (i.e. choreography, steps) then it would’ve ruined the whole serious part of the play. The play ‘Instant’ was made for a teenage audience; although it had a few humorous parts, it was altogether quite a serious theme.
I would not have taken it seriously, as would most people our age, and would categorize it with a musical. Therefore, It wasn’t essential, so the play would be better off not to have any dance.Overall, I’d rate this play a 8 out of 10. It was put together very well, and had good actors. The background effects were efficiently used, and the story line was written so that it was understandable and engaging. Although I found a few minor flaws, it exceeded my expectations.