This darkly comic play combines dark razor sharp humour with the demonstration of the immense strength of women who fight for their family's rights to justice.
Directing ‘Hang’ by the critically acclaimed BAME dramatist debbie tucker green was a goal I had set for myself for the next five years, when I’d properly settled and made connections in Cardiff’s theatre-making community. Imagine my surprise, when, having emailed her agent about my work as an Applied Theatre practitioner and director with future interest in the play, that I received a swift response that the playwright was asking when I would be interested in staging it. debbie tucker green very rarely allows professional productions of her plays to be staged, therefore to be putting faith in my theatre company Run Amok (founded in 2013) and me as a 25 year old Director at the time, felt like an incredible and unique opportunity to realise an ambition I thought was beyond me for years yet. Famously discerning, this will be the first time green has allowed a new production of Hang, using an unpublished, new draft of the script, and it will be the first time her work has been performed in Wales (Hang premiered at The Royal Court in 2015). For myself as a young director, for my company, and for The Other Room as a venue, it is a hugely exciting opportunity.
The play is set in a UK where the death penalty is still law. Hang focuses on a meeting between victim and the perpetrator’s legal team who are discussing the different ways in which the victim can choose for an offender to be executed. The crime itself is never revealed, only the devastation it has caused the victim’s family. This absence of information encourages the audience to ‘jump the gaps’ imaginatively; engagement in the play cannot be passive. Hang presents the audience with the question as to what comfort or relief the death of perpetrator can give a victim once a crime has been committed. The play encourages the audience to question the UK’s methods of dealing with the lasting impact of shared trauma within families, and how is it possible for a death by execution to bring about positive change for families living in trauma but also in dealing with criminals who haven’t had intervention in the form of psychological support earlier in their lives. This darkly comic play combines dark razor sharp humour with the demonstration of the immense strength of women who fight for their family's rights to justice.
Why this play? And why right now? Choosing to stage Hang is indicative of our innovation as a company who, in taking bold risks in staging theatre which responds to and challenges the Welsh audience. Our experience of working with vulnerable people both in diaspora and non-diaspora communities, is sensitive to awareness of the challenges Wales currently faces regarding artistic representation, and the isolation of individuals experiencing economic and emotional challenges in their lives. Hang is a play which directly explores themes and narratives which as an applied theatre practitioner I engage with directly on a weekly basis through my work at Valley and Vale Community Arts. These issues include: marginalisation, isolation, trauma, family breakdown and people whose loved ones are in the criminal justice system. All incredibly important themes that theatre should be exploring for everyone right now, at this moment in time.
We are determined to stage this play and contribute to Wales’s rich cultural history of staging ambitious theatre which seeks to challenge and engage communities in dialogue with one another. We believe that Hang is a play that can do that.
Unfortunately, we recently found out we weren’t successful in a funding application and now have to work fast to ensure we can make this project happen. We believe that Hang is a play that can do just that. We are asking for a small contribution to hit our target of raising £4000 by August, we are asking friends and family to contribute to our crowdfunding goal of £1000.
We recognise that times are hard and that asking for your donations to fund this personal endeavour may seem frivolous, but we genuinely believe in the power of theatre and this production particularly to change and impact, and I know that I can deliver on this promise. I make no secret of the fact that this is also an important moment for me personally, and I am determined not to let it slip through my grasp; and so here I am asking you friends, family, colleagues and everything inbetween if you would throw us anything you can - even if its just a few pennies; you really would be making a difference.
Time is running out and we believe that it makes complete sense that in making theatre for communities, communities can be central in supporting and ensuring that the work gets made.
- PHIL SAVILL
- Ben Atterbury
- Andrea Edwards-Jones
- Giverny Nixon
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