A Line in the Land is an original YAT show where the universe reaches out to help a group of kids bring life back to their ravaged world. Our first Intensive shows were split by age group-- Kidz and Teenz with separate shows. This semester, the classes share the show. Our 4th-8th grade Kidz tell the first half of the story, and then-- right before our eyes-- five years pass and the kids grow up, becoming their Teenz cast counterpart.
How do you go about casting two people to be the same person from two places in time?
And how do you respond when you and your counterpart look entirely different? TAB member and Intensive cast member Hannah Odgen reflects on the unique experience of being Brooks in A Line in the Land:
Let's set the scene. I’m standing in a tech week rehearsal for Anne of Green Gables, texting a classmate in the Teenz intensive and begging her to update me on the ancient theatre tradition I was missing: the Posting of the Cast List.
The Teenz and Kidz intensive students would be paired together, each pair playing the same character. Finally, I get the text: “You’re Brooks! You’re with Andrew.”
“Andrew? Boy Andrew? Are you sure? I don’t understand, he doesn’t look anything like me.” I was frantic. Why?
Now, please don’t think I was disappointed to work with Andrew, or to be given the part I received. It’s quite the opposite; I was thrilled. But I kept thinking, “Oh gosh he’s, well, he’s a boy. I’m a girl. How the heck are we going to make this work? He’s probably dreading working with me, I bet he wishes he could work with one of the boys.”
And let me tell you folks, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I’ve always been a huge fan of viewing the younger kids in YAT as my peers, because they are. However, I haven’t always walked the walk. It can be so easy to stay with kids your age and not break from that comfort zone. This session completely changed that for me. I found myself anticipating those Tuesday rehearsals where we would see our kid counterpart, because I could count on Andrew to say, “Hey, I’ve got some ideas, do you have a second?” or “What do you think about Brooks carrying a fork around, you know, for protection.”
It’s ideas like those that helped me to understand that every idea is worth trying-- and, as it turns out, it makes total sense for Brooks to carry around a fork (Come see A Line in the Land, Andrew and I will prove it to you).
Don’t get me wrong, there were times where we had to sit down and talk about the extra challenge of convincing the audience that we were the same person, but never once did Andrew say, “This is too hard, I don’t know if we can do it.” He rose to the challenge, and by doing so pushed me to break away from my own hesitations. I’ve learned so much from him and from all of the kids this session. I also learned to give people a chance, no matter what age. Sometimes, the youngest artists have the biggest, craziest, best ideas. We as teenagers and adults need to give them a chance, too. Because if we do, our world will be a more colorful, insane, amazing place.
A Line in the Land is coming to the Toby Theatre at the IMA next Friday. Tickets are FREE for youth under 18-- buy or reserve your tickets today, or buy them at the door!