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The Monstrum

by Kellie Smith

Story by Bodens Performing Arts February 27th, 2017

Connections is the National Theatre’s nationwide youth theatre festival. Each year it offers a unique opportunity for youth theatres and school theatre groups to stage new plays written for young people by some of theatre’s most exciting playwrights, and to perform in leading theatres across the UK.

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In a cold village on the edge of nowhere, a disease has broken out, infecting the young and transforming them into monstrous creatures. The villagers fearfully watch their children for symptoms of the disease, whilst the Mayor has adopted tough measures for dealing with those who are infected. When Bolek, the local scholar, makes a breakthrough in finding a cure, few are prepared for the gruesome nature of the treatment. But with his own daughter showing signs of infection, there is no choice than to stop this terrible disease dead in its tracks.

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We performed three times at The Scaffold Theatre in February 2017, and on Saturday 31st March transferred to The Theatre Royal, Stratford East as part of the Connections programme.

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After many weeks of exploration and creative play, we decided to set our production in a Fargo, Fortitude style world, while finding ways to remain with elements of a Gothic melodrama.

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Imagine a place, in the highest mountains.

Frosted little houses. Shards of glass hanging from a wishing well.

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It’s a terrible thing when you’re afraid of you’re children.

It’s a terrible thing when you fear what they have become.

It’s a terrible thing when you’re locking your bedroom door

and you feel unsure, that these are your children at all.

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With the spread of this infection we are losing our young day by day. Our commitment to stamping out the Monstrum must be stronger than ever.

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Maybe, maybe they are us and we are they. That though I may have forgotten it, though perhaps it has left my system altogether, and only now have I a vague sensation of it in dreams and memories – but undeniably there is something out there that is a part of me.

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But no longer do the people fear it, freeze in terror at the first sign of it.

Instead it is like the slow passing of seasons.

The melting ice, the crisp leaf falling.

Summer will return again, they will return to us, they will.

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Footnote: www.bodens.co.uk