(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/22; Nicolas Kent, the artistic director of the Tricycle theatre in London, speaks on the riots in the above video.)
Once again, the theatre steals a march on officialdom. In the absence of any full public inquiry into the August riots, the Tricycle commissioned Gillian Slovo to create a verbatim piece on the events and their possible causes. And, if the result can hardly be expected to provide any definitive answers, it asks the right questions in a way that is clear, gripping and necessary.
The evening is in two distinct halves. In the first we get witness accounts, with film footage and street maps, of events in Tottenham on the night of 6 August. One thing emerges strongly: the failure of the police to inform Mark Duggan's family of either the facts or the circumstances of his shooting. This was the match that lit the bonfire.
INTERVIEW WITH GILLIAN SLOVO AND THE WRITING OF ‘THE RIOTS’
(Esther Addley’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/22.)
Gillian Slovo was travelling in Scotland in early August when she switched on her TV to see London burning. Her reaction, like everyone else's, was one of "absolute horror". But there was also, she says, "a glimmer" of an understanding, arising, perhaps, from her own South African background, of what it might have been like to take part: how rage plays a part in mob violence, that it can also be about adrenaline, and even fun. "It's as if the constraints of life are just … thrown away, and there is relief in acting."
Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom by Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo is included in Acts of War: Iraq and Afghanistan in Seven Plays, edited by Karen Malpede, Michael Messina, and Bob Shuman, published by Northwestern University Press. View the book at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0810127326/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=stagvoic-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0810127326&adid=0SX28G1ZNP0EN5DETQWP&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fstagevoices.typepad.com%2Fstage_voices%2F