'Octopus' explores what it's like being treated as a foreigner in your own land
Having wowed audiences in Edinburgh and London, playwright, librettist and short fiction writer Afsaneh Gray's first full-length play 'Octopus' is rounding off its regional and outer London tour with a run at the Tara Arts Theatre in Earlsfield from 12–15 July.
Staged against the backdrop of a country post- Brexit, this timely and politically relevant play is set in a dystopian world of bureaucratic box ticking. It explores what it’s like to be treated as a foreigner in your own land...and the power of punk.
As far as Sarah, Sara and Scheherazade are concerned, they have nothing in common. And yet they’ve all been called in for an interview to determine how British they are: a new requirement for those who are considered to have ‘non-indigenous heritage’.
Sara looks kind of Asian. Scheherazade looks kind of Middle Eastern. And Sarah is kind of white and has no idea why she’s here. She also keeps bursting into song. But by the end of the play it becomes clear that these three women are all what Scheherazade thinks of as ‘octopuses’ — mixed race and mixed up with it. And maybe that’s true of Britishness too.
Afsaneh Gray (Royal Court Studio Group) was born in Oxford to an Iranian mother and Jewish father and Octopus was inspired by her own experiences of growing up in the UK with mixed heritage.
In addition to the show there will be a post-show debate on the 14 July, giving audiences and cast alike the chance to reflect on the fast-moving developments in today’s political climate. Confirmed panellists include writer, broadcaster, barrister and human rights development worker Afua Hirsch, whose new book Brit(ish): Why We Need To Talk About Race is being published by Penguin in 2018. The performance plus talkback on 14 July will be BSL interpreted.
Show information: Tara Arts Theatre 12–15 July. Times: Eves 7.30pm. Post Show Talk 14 July. 8.45pm – 9.15pm.
Prices: £13.50 (Concessions - £2.50 off for children, students, unemployed, Equity members and over 65s. Groups 10% discount off groups of 10 or more. Schools all £12 each with 1 free teacher ticket per 10 booked).
Running time: 65 minutes. Age: 14+ Booking: https://www.tara-arts.com/whats-on, Tel: 0208 333 4457.
June 16, 2017