I saw Ella Hickson's Boys at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, and I wanted to stage it in our community. The play is about the difficulties of being a student, and looks at a group of students coping with those through drinking, hard drugs, and in one case, suicide.
We staged the play in a student flat - audience members were given shots on arrival and at interval, and the play was punctuated with live dj sets. This incredibly intimate production had a small capacity, and the proximity of the actors to the audience dictated a very understated performance style. We also did a lot of research into fake drugs, and in the end used snortable inositol in place of cocaine, consumable lactose pills in place of ecstasy, and a careful blend of dried herbs in place of marijuana - the proximity of the audience meant that every detail had to be correct, including the smell of the joints.
This show was a fun and unique audience experience, but moreover it spoke about issues that really affect our student community, and brought them to the very heart of that community. Working with this cast of students was a privilege because they were so ready to share their experiences and stories pertaining to the play's subject matter, and they completely understood the importance of the production, and the reasons for its style. Boys was the first play we did that fully lived up to, and exceeded, our initial vision.