The award-winning suburban gothic thriller Concord Floral offers a showcase for new, young actors to get to play actual teenagers.
same for Halstead as working with professionals, but she is keeping a closer eye. “As a director, you’re always watching your cast to see where they’re at emotionally. Content in the show can be triggering emotionally,” she says. “Pro actors have more experience doing that, and if they’re going to take the show they have their own experiences they’re gonna mine, but these kids don’t have those filters yet.”
Concord Floral is not a straight-ahead drama, it contains fantastical elements often found in Tannahill’s work—characters include the greenhouse itself, a couch and a fox; the body that may or may not be inside starts calling the lost phone’s owner. It’s been staged on astroturf and inside a former Staples. The Halifax production will be performed on a bare stage.
“The play moves very quickly—it flows in and out, in many ways it’s a choral piece,” says Halstead. “There’s chunks that are monologues or scenes but there are whole chunks where they’re talking together—it’s part of why the piece works so effectively, they have to be aware of each other physically and vocally and emotionally. The piece has to flow through. I can’t really imagine doing this piece with a set per se—we shift from reality to past to present to imagination seamlessly, so how do you do that?”
Entrusting a dense, rich, layered work to a group of young amateurs may seem like an artistic gamble, but it’s offered surprisingly tender moments less likely to happen among more seasoned performers.
“At one point we’re in the middle of a scene and I’m worried about the kid who’s playing this right now, and I turn and I’ve got two other kids standing on stage with tears coming down their eyes,” says Halstead. “Which means what we’re doing in the work is working.”
often you think about the past; the attention you give to your loved ones when you see them; how much you enjoy the things you have right now; what books
Aylin Sozdinler, Ella Buckler and Mai To get real inConcord Floral.