Angela Knowles & Patrick Connolly
Directing the play “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” in our hometown was somewhat of a full-circle experience for us. Many years ago, in a time before SnapChat, we were both student members of the BHS Music Department. It’s actually how we met – performing side-by-side in plays and musicals in the Gwendolyn Kent Auditorium at BHS! Since then, our passion for theatre has only grown, working as performers, writers, and directors all over New Brunswick, in Vancouver, and most recently in Beijing, China. Returning to the Chaleur Region this year, we were eager to share our love for drama with young people in our hometown. For that reason, we were thrilled when BHS Music teachers/directors Jeff MacQuarrie and Alysa Collins graciously invited us to take the reins on the drama production this fall.
Meeting the cast, it was immediately clear how much talent and enthusiasm exists in the halls of BHS – and how much the students were craving an opportunity to perform live after these past two years of unexpected challenges and setbacks. We presented a couple of options, and the cast decided on Bradley Hayward’s “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” as the play we’d perform this fall. This was so exciting for us, as we had directed a production of it with our students in Beijing and fallen in love with the style of the show and its powerful message. Confronting the daily challenges of growing up, it looks at wide range of issues – exposing the things teenagers can’t, won’t, and don’t want to talk about. Throughout the process, we were continually impressed by our students’ abilities, commitment, perseverance, and bravery in bringing this play to life and, in doing so, bringing light to some of the darker aspects of life by facing them together.
Mounting a show for a second time is always exciting, especially when that show is performed in a place that means so much. This experience allowed us to re-visit the BHS theatre space after 15 years, now as directors rather than performers. It is comforting to know that whether it’s been 3 years since you’ve performed the same show or 15 years since you’ve lived in the same town, some things never change – but, in a strange way, it is even more comforting to know that many things do change. We aren’t in the same place, and we aren’t the same artists or the same people we were years, months or even weeks ago. So, perhaps it wasn’t a full circle experience in the sense that ended up back where we started. But rather, a circle connecting all of our experiences to make us into the artists and people we are today.
“I Don’t Want to Talk About it” by Bradley Hayward played in the Gwendolyn Kent Auditorium at Bathurst High School on December 21st, 2021.