Our Generation in Chichester - "unbelievably resilient and joyful and playful"

Our Generation– the opening play in the Minerva in this year’s Chichester Festival Theatre summer season – has been a long, long journey for Sarita Gabony.

Sarita Gabony - pic by Johan Persson

The play comes to Chichester following a run at the National in London earlier this year.

Sarita has been part of the creative process for the past five years.

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“And now we are doing it, it has been absolutely amazing and it has been the best four months of my life!

“It is something that I’ve been involved with for five years now. I was working workshopping the play and I started on it when I was 18 and then every year you hear new material.

“I never knew if I was going to be cast in the final thing or if I would get to be in it at all.

“We didn’t know if the characters were going to be played by actual teenagers but it is just great to be in it now.

“It does feel that it’s been a long time coming but it’s been lovely to be following my character for five years.”

A new play by Alecky Blythe, Our Generation (April 22-May 14) is a panoramic verbatim piece telling the stories of a generation.

Created from five years of interviews with 12 young people from all four corners of the UK, Our Generation promises a captivating portrait of their teenage years as they journey into adulthood.

“I am playing Mia (name changed from the original) who is from North Wales. She is a very very bold character and I think she goes on a big journey, probably one of the biggest journeys in the production.

“You see her start off as young and full of life and energy but then she goes through this 13 and a half month abusive relationship. I go off stage for quite a while and then give a speech about what has happened and what it has been like.

“She goes into detail about some of the physical violence and him being on bail.

“And then in the third Act she is in a much, much better place.

“People have spoken about this play showing the resilience of young people and for me my character is all about the resilience.

“She is a very inspiring person.

“She is unbelievably resilient and joyful and playful.

“At least that is how I see it. How damaged she is is open to interpretation.

“I don’t know the ins and outs of her real life story. I’m just going by the small bits of audio that I’ve got and by the play, and in the play it really does end in a positive light for her.

“I don’t know how right or wrong I am in terms of how I actually imagine her but it has been such a fascinating process trying to find the clues about the character in the voice and in the play.”

Sarita graduated in 2020 from Mountview: “I was actually quite fortunate in my year group.

“I got a very good role in my first production which ended up as the only production but I got an agent from that.

“Not all my group was so lucky so I do feel very grateful about that.

“A lot of people in my year did not have that luck or that support system.

“But since then it has been fine really. For me personally it has allowed me to work on teaching and directing that I had always been interested in and I think actually the pandemic escalated my work into that.

“I supported Mountview in moving courses online and I had an opportunity to teach that I would not have had if it hadn’t been for the pandemic. I feel very, very grateful that I managed to make an income in a creative sense just by sitting in my bedroom! It was a bit insane really!”

Theatre includes Old Vic 200, The Divide (Old Vic); The Treatment, Lovely Ugly City, Little Revolution (Almeida); Deciphering (New Diorama); The Sound of Music (West End).

Films include Mothering Sunday.

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