London's National Theatre Presents The Stones

News   London's National Theatre Presents The Stones

From May 20 to May 25 The Stones, a play designed for children ages 12 and over, will be performed during the day at the Lyttleton auditorium at the National Theatre.

An Australian play that looks at issues of juvenile crime and citizenship, its themes are highly topical, and it fits neatly into the area of theatre as education that the government is keen to promote.

Teenage delinquency and how to deal with it dates back to the 1950's and is primarily thought of in terms of television and cinema — the James Dean vehicle "Rebel Without A Cause" for example — but the theatre can deal with this as well: most memorably, with music, in Bernstein and Sondheim's updating of the "Romeo and Juliet" story, set against the background of New York's teenage gangs in West Side Story.

The Stones is the dramatization of a true story of two Australian teenagers who were charged with manslaughter in 1994 for kicking stones from a motorway bridge onto a road, and killing a motorist in the process. The production involves a considerable amount of physical theatre — acrobatics, music and movement as well as a witty script — to make the play accessible and involving for younger audiences.

The Stones is the first in a series of plays staged by Interact, a program initiated by the National's Education Department to promote positive images of citizenship through theatrical performances aimed at secondary school children. There are also actor-led workshops for teachers and students as part of the Interact program, which is part of the National's overall commitment (focussed on the recently launched Transformation series of plays in the Lyttleton and Lyttelton Loft) to making the theatre more attractive, and relevant, to young people.

—By Paul Webb Theatrenow