Sunday, October 12, 2008

enduring freedom

Enduring Freedom was a short, one-act play by Gary Owen performed at the Swansea Grand by the Fluellen Theatre Group. I always enjoy Fluellen, not least because they performed excerpts from my radio play June 2007 in Rough Diamonds (and I spoke to the guy who played Alphonse today, and he remembered my play!), and because the first theatre I saw upon coming to Swansea was their version of Twelfth Night. The staging is simple, as are the costumes, lighting, and set; there are three characters, and it’s in-your-face from the moment you say “go.” It’s based on the exploits of a British student in 2004 who joked she had a bomb in her bag at the Miami Airport and was detained and eventually released.

The play’s character, Kate, jokes about the bomb in JFK Airport, and the fact it’s set in New York immediately heightens the tension between Kate, her boyfriend Richard, and the Federal Agent on Kate’s case. Kate is super-unlikable, tossing herself into a situation in which she believes the moral high ground is hers, rather than confessing that she made an arse of herself. She highlights Americans’ perceived lack of irony and something I’d never thought about before: she claims the British got through the Blitz by laughing at their own perilous predicament, while we Americans always take things too seriously and whittle ourselves away with discipline that melts away our humanity. The Agent’s response is archly funny; so much for irony. All the acting was excellent; George Andrews in particular as the Agent had a practically perfect New York accent. I was really impressed, and the best part was my ticket was free!

I thought it might be interesting to have the piece performed in the U.S. How do you think it would go down?

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