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[FRINGE FESTIVAL REVIEW] HCA Teen Creative Collective: Connections The youth-led sketch series sheds new light on the history of the Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts

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Photo courtesy of HCA Teen Creative Collective

By: Lauren O’Donnell

“The voices of the youth should be heard.” 

The Hamilton Conservatory for the Arts is a beautiful building chock full of art and history which is itself worth the price of admission. “HCA Teen Creation Collective: Connection” is playing there until Saturday, July 27th.

As we entered the space, we were told that the designer of the building was a very short man whose girlfriend left him for someone much taller, and as vengeance he created the space so that all tall people were forced to bang their heads. Regretfully, this turned out to be false. As we trekked up several flights of stairs we were regaled with further tales of how the building was initially meant to be a stair factory, but when it fell through they decided to shove as many stairs into the building as possible. This too turned out to be false, much to my disappointment. 

As we got to the top of the stairs, we were treated to a series of sketches performed in alternating spaces. The scenes were funny, well written, and excellently performed. They were spaced out throughout the different time periods of the HCA, from music conservatory, to youth home, to derelict building, to the art conservatory that it is today. Through each scene you can truly tell how much the group cares about the building they are in. There are many jokes made about the number of stairs. Deprived of context, my favourite quote was, “cats are cool”. 

Each of the time periods blends seamlessly together to form narratives of connection across different social groups, and even across different decades. Indeed, the strongest impression that I got from this play was an overwhelming sense of community. The show was created through devised theatre, which is a form of collaborative and organic creation. As a result, the show was and is shaped by the experiences of the performers, both as individuals and a group. It was truly a delight to see these young artists shaping and creating their own show for the Fringe Festival, and I look forward to seeing what they do next. 

Rating: 5/5 Sta(i)rs.

 

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