Forbidden Stories - Review
I became aware of this project possibly a year ago, when it was first being devised. It was obviously a piece with an interesting and difficult subject, one about which I knew next to nothing. But more than that, I could tell that it was a piece that required a lot of time and love put into it, if it were to work. And so, I was fascinated to see the result.
The actors were preset when the audience walked in and spent five to ten minutes re-tuning a radio to different crackling stations. It was the kind of set up that I imagine people walk into and either think "Interesting, I wonder what this means in the context of the play?" or "O no, what have I let myself in for? I'm not going to understand anything!" I can understand both reactions.
The play was a collection of short stories from the people of Cyprus, Greeks and Turkish alike, from the end of British colonial rule (which never ends well) through the Turkish invasion, partition, and reconciliation. It can be quite difficult to relate to such specific accounts as these, but the show's strength lay in the way that it guided you through the stories, giving exposition when necessary and the letting the stories speak for themselves when they could.
The international group actors were fantastic, warming up with every story they told and poignantly portraying a people fighting and reconciling. Having been born in Northern Ireland during the troubles it was strange and moving seeing a story I knew so well told in a different accent. The longer the show went on, the more I wanted it to continue.
I do not know what the future of the show is, or where it will go next, but in a world of refugees and growing nationalism, this is the sort of art that can help heal wounds. I hope as many people as possible can see it. Take someone you disagree with or whose opinions you struggle with. Watch it and talk afterwards and see where you end up.
It is no surprise that this gets a 'Special' Blue Tit rating. Please go and see it. And if you want to see why I am rating shows in birds, click here.