By KAHLA PRESTON
When young people are driven to rebel, they express themselves in a variety of ways. Some acts of rebellion are amusingly benign; others are radical and ideologically driven.
The motivations behind these acts are equally diverse – politics, anger, isolation, a yearning to be noticed. Yet further below the surface there often lies a common thread among the rebellious: a desire to challenge their upbringing and to set themselves apart from their parents.
For some young people, pushing against parental expectations and values is a necessary step to define themselves as individuals – and therefore avoid turning into their parents. It’s a theme pop culture and literature has covered for years, through the ‘disaffected youths’ desperate to distance themselves from the socially conservative and claustrophobic beliefs of their mums and dads.
However, when your parents don’t display these rigid authoritarian characteristics, taking a stand is less straightforward. How do you rebel against parents who areliberal, tolerant, and supportive of individual freedoms – and who were probably ‘radical lefties’ during their own youth?
Playwright Joanna Murray-Smith thrusts this question into the spotlight in her latest production, Fury. The play focuses on Alice and Patrick, a happily married upper-middle class couple with an enviable lifestyle: they both have stimulating, successful careers – Alice is a top neurosurgeon and Patrick a bestselling author – and proudly maintain a liberal, tolerant outlook despite their social standing.
So when their teenage son Joe commits a hate crime, the couple’s seemingly idyllic world is shaken. Bewildered and ashamed, they initially look to Joe’s peers, modern social pressures and other exterior influences to find the answers – they can’t quite fathom that an upbringing based on open-mindedness and compassion could result in their son acting so radically. Yet Alice and Patrick are eventually forced to turn the focus onto themselves and question whether Joe’s anger comes from a source closer to home.