Build A Rocket is that worthy and important kind of theatre that reminds us of things we should never have forgotten.
Things like “how quickly they grow up”, “how tempestuous human passions can be in our teenage years”, and “the value of engaged and supportive parents”.
This is not an original story: girl gets pregnant, lacks family and economic support, is vulnerable to “paternity and privilege”, and then manages to pull herself up by the bootstraps.
But, and it’s an important but, this story gets repeated in real life, day by day, year by year, town by town, which is why plays like Build A Rocket are needed still.
Build A Rocket reminds us how neglect of and disinterest in our children renders them prey to the ravages of unbridled, confused, explosive teenage passions.
Through the main character, Yasmin, we probe the complex, discordant symphony of questions and decisions surrounding life changing moments, and the bleak severity of hindsight that follows wrong turns.
And yet, as the late, wise, Leonard Cohen reminded us, there is a crack in everthing, that’s how the light gets in. So, too, in the story of Yasmin.
We are privileged by the frank telling of her experience as she navigates single parenthood, poverty, messy and bumbling relationships, confusion, despair, and resolve.
Her stages of parenthood follow an arc from revulsion and fear, to surprise and delight, with much turbulence encountered along the way.
For those of us for whom our teenage years blink weakly in our memories like a distant star on a cloudy night, Build A Rocket will turn back time for us.
For those of us who are parents, you might want to hug your children dearly after seeing this performance, and renew your pledge to put greater value on every fleeting moment you have with them.
Serena Manteghi brings a bold, courageous energy to this role, displaying an astonishing range of emotions and characters while projecting herself with unlimited energy. Her seemless switching between delivery styles and characters is simply joyous to watch. Bravo!
Build A Rocket at Holden Street Theatres does chart a well-travelled course but it does so with an energy and zest that should inspire all of us to re-engage with our children and boldly go deeper that we have previously gone