We were back a Battersea Arts Centre again last night to see the the verbatim play E15. E15 is a verbatim play made by the theatre company Lung. This is the third production I have seen by them, after The 56, and Chilcot. All three were great, really worth seeing. Their productions are written on the basis of interviews with people affected by real life situations. I’ve been impressed by how sensitively they deal with stories about difficult and traumatic events.
E15 is the story of 29 single mothers who were served eviction notices from their council accommodation and their subsequent partly successful protests against the council in new ham. It was an emotionally raw and moving play – I recommend any one who can see it should see it. Last week I blogged about who it is important of truth when telling stories about real people, especially when those people are frequently denied a voice. Last night I was thinking about the importance of being on the other side of that equation. For someone to tell stories it also requires there to be someone who will listen.
The likelihood of more plays like E15 getting funding and being made widely available is dependent on there being a demand for them. Over the last two weekends I’ve seen two great plays about ‘working class Britain’. These are stories that don’t often get told in the mainstream media outside of the lazy stereotypes the swirl around people on benefits. It is easy to get stuck in going back to the same kinds of stories over and over for entertainment. It is easy to ignore those stories that fall outside of that. Especially in the UK at the moment, there is a great need for us to widen our horizons and start listening to the stories of people who have quite a different experience of being human than we do.