Thursday, 22 March 2012
can we talk about this?
I'm pleased I managed to see the DV8 production 'Can we talk about this?' which is running at the National Theatre. I've known about DV8 for years - since friend Wendy was in the company.
The current work is an intense and political piece. It discusses the liberal secular support for multiculturalism. It discusses whether the UK establishment confuses acceptance of multiracialism for support of different and sometimes severely oppressive cultural values.
The whole piece uses verbatim transcripts to describe the last 30 or so years of Islam situations in the West and mainly the UK.
There's the Bradford headmaster who criticised multiculturalism in 1985, the Rushdie Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoon, Jeremy Paxman interviewing an extremist, Ann Cryer on forced marriages and many others. DV8 is a physical theatre troupe where the vocalisation now operates on an equal basis to the moves.
It's pretty unremitting as well. Jagged moves accompany the spiked words from Establishment forces, Islamists and Muslims. The words are not new, they've all been said over the last few decades, but the messaging is still strong. Do we allow the envelope of acceptance of others' values to condone hatred, fundamentalism and intolerance?
Part way through the show someone from the audience jumps up and throws something at the stage before storming off. There's a pause in the action, a technician sweeps something from the floor and the show resumes. As a counterpoint it's very strong and has me thinking along some parallels during the next scene. I'm sure its designed that way, and very effective.
There's clearly much research in the way the whole piece is constructed and those who spend time on the topics will be able to take the debate much further than the 80 minutes allowed. It's still a powerful way to approach the topic and register some of the baseline points.
And it does demand to be talked about.