The Traverse Theatre plays host to the annual PASS Out show for the graduates of Edinburgh College’s HND Acting and Performance course. The theme the students were given this year was ‘revolting’ and they could devise pieces in collaboration with the professional director assigned to their group in whichever way they chose. Would they choose the adjective describing a feeling of intense disgust, or would they go instead for the verb to revolt by taking violent action against an established authority?
In the first piece, We Rise, directed by Pauline Lockhart, the students explored their own moments of revolt and the things they chose to revolt against. Some performers showed off musical talents alongside their acting skills, and there were powerful and thought-provoking monologues covering topics from North Korea to following your dreams – interspersed with scenes portraying famous powerful women and an absurd bank robbery. It was a fine performance but could have done without the clumsy dance piece in the middle.
The stage is blacked out for a quick scene and cast change, and when the lights come up the audience are in an airport waiting room with a delayed flight and an eclectic assortment of characters providing both comedy (most notably from Poppy Smith and Ben Hughes who are exquisitely cast) alongside serious reflections on society and perception. Not Giving a Flying F***, directed by Tony Cownie, is an observational dark comedy about many of the people that commonly feature while we wait for our flights: the grumpy air hostess, the anxious flyer, the hippy just back from a life-affirming adventure and the man harshly stereotyped because of his culture.
The final performance of the night is aptly titled Numb Crescendo, and directed by Laurentiu Blaga. The young actors question both themselves and the audience – are they revolting? Are we revolting? Are the things we do revolting? Or should we just let everyone be who they want to be without judgement?
There is food for thought for all in the three performances and no shortage of young talent continuing to come out of the well-regarded Performing Arts Studio Scotland.