Do you remember when you were seventeen?
Frolicking with boys, thinking hard about your future career, exploring your personality, planning your summer holiday and drinking until sunrise in celebration - just a few of the thoughts you entertained over the course of a day. Having once been 17, you can now look back and laugh or cry and remember how those days helped make you who you are now.
Belvoir's production strays from other plays exploring youth, in that it is not played out by actors in their twenties but instead cast with senior actors.
Each character is masterfully created, symbolising a different stereotype from your youth. As you would expect there is a cool kid, a smart kid and an awkward kid, but there are so many other layers to these characters. Layers of these characters reveal themselves throughout the play and throughout you develop a special affinity with each one.
As you watch the play, it is easy to forget that these 17 year olds, are actually being played by a standout cast of Australian senior actors in their 70's. One moment they are gossiping about who-kissed-who and the next you can't help but think about their full lives and grey hairs.
Imagine being seventy, going on seventeen.
One of the best moments in the play is the phenomenal dancing rendition of 'Shake it Off' by Taylor Swift. A truly priceless, hilarious 3 minutes of shakin' it all off. Taylor Swift reportedly allowed Belvoir to use the song after the Director publicly tweeted a request to go around copyright laws. Never in my life have I enjoyed seniors dancing to a pop song, more than I did in Seventeen.
The show is as much about Peter Carroll, Maggie Dence, John Gaden, Genevieve Lemon, Barry Otto, Anna Volska as it is the lives of the characters that they are playing. It is a beautiful juxtaposition of characters that leaves you questioning the nature of life and death. It leaves you pondering what you imagined your life to be at 17 and what actually happened when you are looking back at 70.
Belvoir's Seventeen is a witty exploration of the adventures and perils of being 17, exquisitely played by actors in their 70's. A must see!
Seventeen is running at Belvoir St. Theatre until 13 September. Rehearsal photo by Brett Boardman.