La Boite Theatre’s original new production 'The Time Is Now' is a glimpse into the future as imagined by real teenagers.
Featuring one stage, one microphone and the voices of ten switched on and politically savvy Queenslanders aged 12 to 17 years who demand to be heard, 'The Time Is Now' weaves elements of performance, dance, dialogue and surprise cameos within each presentation.
Co-created by Ari Palani, Aleea Monsour and David Burton with La Boite Young Artist Company, this production gives a voice to a generation which is often silenced or dismissed.
Cast member Fujia Sarah Xu and Co-Creator Ari Palani have penned a joint open letter about what it feels like to be young and wanting your concerns to be heard and understood.
“Hi! My name is Sarah, I’m 14 and my story is a part of our show, 'The Time Is Now', at La Boite Theatre in Brisbane. We are a group of teens coming from so many diverse, amazing stories and backgrounds, gathering on the main stage to make an impact.
’The Time Is Now' plays at La Boite Theatre (Brisbane) from 24 May-5 June.
We are here, starting a revolution. We are here to challenge and change the beliefs of others about young people, who are often considered immature and unknowledgeable. We might make you laugh; we might make you cringe, but we will definitely shake you. We can be passionate, we can be chill, we can be funny. . . Well, we try anyway. . . But more than anything? We definitely won’t be silenced.
So, what do you do now? Talk to a young person in your life. Talk to them about the big stuff, the little stuff, the important stuff, the stuff you need to hear us say. I can’t wait to see you guys at the show – it’s going to be a truth bomb.”
“G’day, I’m Ari, and following in Sarah’s footsteps – I’m 33, and although my story is not part of the show, I too was once 14 – a brown, queer, regionally-based young man. Back then (think Tazos, Tamagotchis the first-time round, 'Ship To Shore', 'Round The Twist' with the original cast and Savage Garden’s self-titled debut album) I never saw myself reflected adequately in any form of media, let alone on the main stage of a well-known theatre in a city.
Looking back, I can see where my fights were – many internalised and the product of being a bit too different – but for young folk these days, there is an immense amount of responsibility on their shoulders in addition to the hormonal whirlwind of being a teenager. Our systems have become more pressurised and televised, and young people find themselves at the frontline of political, economic, religious and social debate, often diluted through adult mouthpieces.
The sad fact is that we are all running out of time. Each of us is the youngest we will ever be right now, at this moment. Our current issues and their solutions are intergenerational. As a global community, we will need to collaborate on how we will be remembered, if at all. The time really is now.
I’ve worked with young people creating new work for, with and by them for the past decade and with each production, I’m reminded that they are the future. I trust them. I am inspired by them and as an artist, I have the distinct pleasure of helping to facilitate this conversation wherever and whenever I can. It seems oddly selfish to say so, but I do it for the young man I used to be, and the man I want to be.
Sarah is right – talk to the young people in your life, about all of it. Tell them what you’re scared of, what inspires you and your responsibilities. And pay them the same respect – listen to what they have to say. You might find you aren’t so different.”