art and the message

A quick round up of some shows I visited in the latter part of this year that I would like to mention. Palestine Monologues at Arcola Theatre is the latest in a series of rehearsed readings of testimories (Asylum Monolgues, Rendition Monologues) was a gruelling precursor to Welcome to Ramallah, also at the Arcola. Along with Now or Later at the Royal Court it has led me to coin a new genre — Necessary Theatre — theatre written by people who understand theatre as deeply as the subject they write about, presenting a really clear and accessible exposition of complex subjects without being worthy — I need this kind of theatre.

DV8’s show at National Theatre, To Be Straight With You, suffered at the strangulating hands of its message, which managed to almost entirely squeeze the life out of the show — quite an achievement given how dynamic the dancers and the visuals were.

Autograph‘s exhibition Disposable People at Southbank is a deeply moving and significant reminder that despite the pretensions to celebrate 200th anniversary of its abolition, slavery is alive and well in the modern world.

From slavery to freedom, also at Southbank Speechless moved me in quite a very different way. The young poets were so alive and expressive and their simple unpretentious show perhaps achieved the true synthesis of form and content, art and message where for each poet their act of poetry is itself an act of freedom. The iceandfire/Amnesty International ‘Protect the Human’ playwriting competition was judged last week and the winner was ‘After the Accident’ by Julian Armitstead.

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Index Arts is a specialist arm of Index on Censorship, working in all art forms to promote and support freedom of artistic and cultural expression for disempowered, under- and mis-represented or silenced communities and individuals, both in this country and around the world.