London with Slow Falling Bird

16 Jul

Director Amy Hodge has scored a “process week” at the Young Vic in London for us to work together on my play, Slow Falling Bird<em>. They have a program for young directors which sounds great. I’ll be going over in late August and will blog about the process. She has several theatres in mind for production and has assembled a team (producer, designer, composer).

I’m curious as to how this very Australian play will resonate with a London crew— Australia is almost the back-yard for the English, the dumping ground where the disreputable cousins were sent in leg-irons a couple of centuries back— and much of the country is glued to the contemporary Aussie soap Neighbours.

But I don’t think there’s widespread awareness of the grim detention centers in the deserts there, where Middle-eastern asylum seekers (mostly from the U.S. instigated war in Iraq and also from Iran and Afghanistan) are mandatorily held. (this is the subject of my play).

Even worse is Australia’s ominously titled “Pacific Solution” where asylum seekers have been held on the tiny island nation of Naura, so that their feet cannot touch Australian soil and they therefore cannot claim asylum. (Australia’s right-wing government pays Naura—which is a very poor tiny country–millions of dollars to be its own offshore prison, in an ironic repetition of Australian’s own role in relation to England). This particular horror is winding down, due to long term pressure from human rights groups and public unease with having an offshore gulag.

Until recently children, including unaccompanied orphans, were also held in these legal black holes that Giorgio Agamben calls “zones of exception”–neither inside nor outside the law. Guantanamo, of course, is our current most infamous example in (or not-in) the U.S.


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