Our Article Writer Daisy Leigh Phippard has been working with AUB Performing Arts Society on their production of American Idiot, an adaption of Green Day’s songs as a self proclaimed ‘rock opera’. (Tickets available at buaubparts.wixsite.com/americanidiot/tickets)
American Idiot feels perfectly suited to the world right now. A show that explores the life and dreams of a group of American misfits being juggled around the system and trying to find their own path, but questioning if it’s worth it every step of the way. From the 15th to the 18th of March, BU and AUB’s PARTS Performing Arts Society will be bringing the recognisable anthems of marginalised America to life in the Shelley Theatre.
I may be a writer for BUMF, I’m also stepping into the role of Deputy Stage Manager for the show. Theatre has always been something that’s fascinated me, and led me straight into my film career; but there’s something about seeing someone right in front of you, an actual 3D body that doesn’t warp shape if you go to one side of the screen, that has such an insistent affect on the audience. You can’t pause and come back to it, it’s happening now, and it’s wholly unique to that exact moment. Don’t look away or you’ll miss it. PARTS’ American Idiot embodies this completely. It’s a such a lively and roaring show that you barely have time to breathe between songs, and the energy of the actors and dancers sings (metaphorically and literally) through every moment of the action.
As part of the crew, I’ve only recently started attending rehearsals, but even comparing the choreographed dances and songs in a empty hall to the jumbled group of people from that first meeting reminds me why theatre has that special edge. From a bunch of people who sat nervously looking at each other not quite knowing how to start a conversation, we’ve come to a troupe of actors, dancers and crew that have collaborated to make a whole musical. And the action looks pretty damn good without costume and a set. I can’t wait to get to the dress rehearsal on Tuesday and see them on the actual stage.
Something’s that stuck out to me about PARTS compared to other shows I’ve been involved in is the amount of time everyone’s on stage. The shows lends itself well to that anyway, but I don’t think there’s really any song that doesn’t involve the ensemble to some degree. The result is a constant, epic rush of movement from every direction fueling the satirical lyrics of Green Day’s music. The dances especially have that edge, dynamic and snappy, and when you get the entire cast performing the same choreography and singing together it’s powerful to say the least.
And, of course, you can’t talk about a show without its main cast. Playing the misguided protagonists of ‘idiot America’ are a selection of students from both AUB and BU. As dark and reckless the characters of the show can get, their actors don’t stop at halfway to portray their stories. Drug addictions, war victims and dysfunctional relationships, all are told with the same passion and conviction. And the directors Frankie Leonard and Izzy Penhallow have done a brilliant job of pushing the performances to their best.
Dark, sexy and angry, American Idiot isn’t your average musical. From the iconic title song, to the uplifting melody of 21 Guns, to the strong feminine anthem of Letterbomb, and all the way back to the climactic Homecoming, the cast gives everything you could need for a little escape from the socially turbulent reality of 2017.
Tickets available at buaubparts.wixsite.com/americanidiot/tickets
Words by Daisy Leigh-Phippard, Photographs by Frankie Leonard