Take Five: Theatre Remembers 9/11Date: 5 September 2011
Ahead of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 this Sunday, we take a look at five London productions that are placing a spotlight on the event that defined a decade.
Writers including Christopher Shinn, Lynn Nottage, John Logan, Abi Morgan, Samuel Adamson, Mike Bartlett, Alecky Blythe and historian and social commentator Simon Schama have worked with director Rupert Goold on this production, which is billed as a "thrillingly imaginative investigation" into the legacy of the September 11 attacks.
Decade, which runs from 8 September to 15 October 2011 (previews from 1 September) in a disused office building in St Katharine Docks, aims to provide an immersive theatrical experience that will take audience members from the River Thames to Manhattan in exploring the “first global event in the age of the internet”; a day when everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news.
THE FAITH MACHINE
The opening scene of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s new play takes place on the morning of 9/11, and the action then jumps forwards and backwards as it charts interactions between Sophie and Tom (Hayley Atwell and Kyle Soller), her father Edward (Ian McDiarmid) and “the relationship between faith and capitalism”.
Suitably epic in both its themes and running time (there are two intervals), The Faith Machine suggests how, worldwide, people changed the way they thought and what they believed as a result of one catastrophic event. It continues until 1 October.
OUR DAYS OF RAGE
Staged as part of the National Youth Theatre’s season at Old Vic Tunnels, Our Days of Rage (until 15 September) is written by winners of a writing competition for 18 to 30-year-olds run by the company last year. It takes audiences on a walkabout through the cavernous venue, centring on various protests that have been staged in the past few decades (including the recent riots).
Although not a direct comment on 9/11, it nevertheless provides an interesting perspective on how a new generation are dramatising the fall-out of that fateful day.
THE MERCY SEAT
Neil LaBute’s The Mercy Seat, receiving a timely revival at the Pleasance, is set in a downtown New York apartment the day after 9/11.
While the dust is still settling, Ben and Abby can choose to see what has happened as a tragedy, a catastrophe ... or an opportunity. With New York City choked with xeroxes of missing persons, this is their chance to disappear - to be dead to the world or to start a new life.
This 2002 drama was one of the first theatrical responses to 9/11 and remains one of LaBute’s most compelling and controversial works. Catch it at the Pleasance until 18 September.
Taking the traditional Romeo and Juliet tragic love story and setting it in contemporary war torn Arabia, it re-evaluates the enduring belief that love conquers all as two young lovers battle with their beliefs and their destiny.
Political and honest, Manifest Destiny (at the King's Head til 31 October) made a big noise at the 2005 Edinburgh Fringe festival for its controversial themes of finding beauty in the desperate actions of a terrorist.