More than a Muslim musical

11 03 2010

“I’m the author of this piece, but not the writer” – Victoria Brittain’s name is on the byline of the new theatre piece Waiting, but she’s the first to point out that it’s actually a wholly collaborative effort.

This weekend the lives of five refugee women will be given a spotlight at the Southbank Centre. These women’s husbands have been in Guantanamo Bay or detained in Belmarsh Prison without trial for suspected links with terrorism. Their cultural backgrounds vary from Senegal to Jordan, Palestine to the English Midlands. Their stories as women, wives, mothers placed in such a position are yet to be told.

Waiting aims to give a unique perspective on the war on terror. Victoria Brittain has spent years speaking with real women about their experiences, hearing how their lives were blast into turmoil in a hostile post-9/11 world. She’s collected these conversations, and what will be presented on the stage in the intimate Purcell Room is a powerful amalgam of these voices, I’m sure.

With the unconventional perspective comes the unconventional medium. Rather than just speaking the words, the women will also sing of their experiences. There’s an original score written by Jessica Dannheisser with cellos to accompany the vocals.

If you really think about it, where else are you likely to see such an expression from such a viewpoint before? There are loads of documentaries, each with their unique take on various post-9/11 perspectives. This one, however, is as yet unearthed. And I think the verbatim music theatre genre will serve to bring out the poignancy of the women’s words, uprooting their voices from the dark underbelly of female Muslim experience in Britain, forcing people to stop, look and listen.

There are just a handful of tickets left for the Saturday night performance at the Southbank Centre, and if you can make it, I would urge you to do so!

Here’s all the info you’ll need:

Waiting by Victoria Brittain
Date: Friday 12 March – Saturday 13 March 2010
Time: 7.45pm on both nights
Price: £15
Click here to book.

After each performance, Victoria Brittain will chair a debate discussing the issues raised during the evening. The panels include Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Gareth Peirce, Manjinder Virk, Riz Ahmed, Salma Yacob, Vanessa Redgrave and Moazzam Begg.

Watch this excellent promotional mini-documentary to find out a bit more

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