Preview: millennium baby
I talked to the cast and crew behind Cambridge’s new coming-of-age play
This week, I got the opportunity to talk to the team behind millennium baby, a new play by current student Alix Addinall, who describes it as “heartfelt, poignant and raw”. The play follows the life of Robin through the COVID-19 pandemic, where, seemingly trapped in her room, she feels the turbulence of growing up in the wake of Brexit, Trump, and political unrest, while she simultaneously experiences the mundane nature of everyday life and early adulthood. Addinall describes it as a “modern coming-of-age story, [that] explores how we cope when the world deviates from the path we expected”.
Originally an exploration of the differences in generations and reactions to changing times, Addinall explains how she felt there was “something worth exploring [in] the impact of the pandemic and the gradual move to the right of Western politics on liberal young people and how disheartening it can be”. While the play is an interesting explanation into the impact of larger issues and global events on young people, it also explores the more personal and intimate moments in someone’s life. Addinall’s favourite moment is when Freya talks about their feelings about lesbian sex, and how “it’s a really lovely moment about how people can connect in different ways and see these moments of connection as almost sacred and selfless”. Particularly as it is set in the pandemic era, connection feels even more poignant for both the audience and the crew.
While the show deals with tough topics, and the impact that growing up in the last few years has had, Addinall says that the message is one of hope; “even though it’s easy to be taken over by despondence as the world seems to become increasingly challenging and terrifying, that becoming paralysed by fear can’t be the answer, and that by making connections with people we can try to overcome these fears and do what we can to impact the people and world around us.” One of the other strengths of the show is its relatability, as Megan Conlon, who plays Hannah, describes how she’s previously said her monologue to her friends “pretty much word for word”. Imogen Woods-Wilford’s (who plays Robin) favourite thing about the show that that “even if you haven’t gone through exactly the same things, everyone has had a similar experience, or felt the same things as these characters”. It is the heart of the show that really comes across from the cast and crew, and the relatability of growing up in the same turbulent times.
However, it is this heart and realistic portrayal that was the most difficult thing about the production. Melania Hamilton, the director, argues that it’s so difficult because of “how real it is. Thinking about yourself as a 15 year old, not just as a memory but actually going back to being in that state…it’s awful and embarrassing but also very healing”. While revisiting these formative years would be most people’s worst nightmares, the play seeks to capture this pain and discomfort, and provide an outlet for the audience.
When asked why people should come and see the show, Miranda Crawford, a co-producer, answers “because it has so much heart. It’s written by a student, and it’s about things we have all experienced and gone through together even when we felt most isolated. Everyone involved cares so much about the show and its message and I think that really comes across.”
Finally, when asked whether the crew had any millennium baby words of wisdom, Hamilton poignantly answers “love and love freely, that’s never a mistake”, encapsulating the heartfelt and caring atmosphere of the production.
Millennium baby is showing at the Corpus Playroom from the 18th-21st October at 9:30pm. You can find tickets here.