The Mischief Festival returns to The Other Place at the RSC with a double-bill of two eye-opening and thought-provoking pieces of theatre. Exploring global questions of truth, freedom and corruption, both pieces shine a spotlight on issues in our modern society across the world.
Set in Turkey, although resonates with any country, #WeAreArrested tells the story of a journalist’s fight for freedom of speech. When a journalist receives a flash drive containing critical evidence of illegal government activity, he believes he is duty-bound to publish the story. However, with a destabilised nation, he finds himself risking everything for his profession.
This piece is based on a true story and is told in the first person through actor Peter Hamilton Dyer. As an audience, we are given a window into his life and mind and we go on this emotional journey with him as he struggles to fight against injustice.
Adapted from the memoirs of Turkish Journalist Can Dündar, who was imprisoned for publishing pictures of Turkish soldiers smuggling weapons to Islamic State in Syria. Pippa Hill and Sophie Ivatts have adapted the book into a powerful piece of storytelling.
Peter Hamilton Dyer is exceptional as he carries the play with pace. Despite the heavy topic, his slick comedy timing gives his character depth, making his rare moments of emotion even more poignant. Encapsulating a tired but devoted journalist in his crumpled blazer and wild hair, his dedication to the craft is clear.
Turkey has more journalists in prisons than in Eygpt, Iran and China combined. Despite remarkable political and economic pressure, they continue to fulfil their responsibility to inform the public with the truth. #WeAreArrested is a seriously strong piece of writing that tells the story in a simplistic yet striking way to highlight the bravery of journalists across the world.
Day Of The Living
The disappearance crisis in Mexico is ever-growing and justice has not been found. Exploring this issue, Darren Clark and Amy Draper create a verbatim piece of theatre about the 43 students that forcefully disappeared in Ayotzinpa Mexico back in 2014.
Through a combination of vibrant music and bright colour, the juxtaposition between the spirit of Mexico and the fear and pain their people feel is portrayed through this piece written by Juliet Gilkes Romeo. With the narrative being the testimony of trainee teacher students from Ayotzinapa who survived the violent abduction, the story unravels. This is intertwined with a focus on a grieving family dealing with the inability to come to terms with the fact their son is gone.
Director Amy Draper has cleverly used masks to tell the family’s story. The movement and characterisation of the actors wearing these masks is remarkable, as it heightens the emotion of their struggle. With the mother and grandfather clinging onto his memories, lost in the unknowing. Stinging with grief, their scenes are beautifully crafted to show what these Mexican families are having to deal with.
Darren Clark’s music lifts the piece with the variety of musical instruments bringing light to the heavy emotion. Creating an atmosphere that mirrors the Mexican way of life, it creates a well-rounded depiction of the Mexican tradition. With witty lyrics and powerful tones, as an audience, we are swept away into the melody of Mexico.
There is real passion behind the group of actor-musicians who tell this story, and their words really do resonate. Although there are some moments of obscurity, the narrative is heart-wrenchingly clear. It is a really interesting piece of theatre that highlights a real issue in a theatrically engaging way.
Both #WeAreArrested and Day Of The Living are desperately essential, hard-hitting stories told in an informative and gripping way.
On until the 23rd of June at the RSC’s The Other Place in Stratford Upon Avon, tickets and information can be found here.