Theatre in Wales

Plays and dance productions in Wales since 1982...

 
Box of Fear by devised by the company
First presented in 1996 by Theatr Iolo
cast size:4
 

   There are 2 reviews of Theatr Iolo's Box of Fear in our database:
Box of Fear by devised by the company
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venue
Barry Memorial Hall
June-01-96
Box of Fear", a new production by Theatr Iolo, was launched at the Barry Memorial Hall before an invited audience of Councillors, school governors, teachers and children. Following the success of their play which explored the issue of bullying, their latest offering dealt with another controversial subject: racism.
The play unfolds through the growing friendship between two hoys from very different cultural backgrounds. Shofiq is an English boy born of parents who came to Britain from Pakistan. His friend Peter is the son of English parents, and Peter's father is a dyed-in-the-wool racist. Through observing the racism to which Shofiq is subjected by children at school and society in general, the play moves towards a climax of violent confrontation. Aimed at raising awareness of the problems faced by children and their families living in a multi-racial community. "Box of Fear" encourages members of the community to take responsibility for working towards solutions.
With a strong cast containing an appropriate ethnic mix. "Box of Fear" also explored an extra dimension in addition to the actual performance of the play. In an exercise known as "hot seating", the actors and actresses stayed in role to answer questions from the audience about their attitudes and behaviour. Some very interesting questions arose: are English born children whose ancestors come from Ireland more "English" than those whose ancestors came from Pakistan? Is ancestry really so important anyway? What is this thing about tribal culture tied up with race? Why do racists claiming "superiority" behave in such a base and inferior way towards their fellow human beings?
The play went on to perform for all of the Vale of Glamorgan secondary schools where it attracted considerable interest and commentary. What continues to impress about Theatr lolo is their willingness to tackle controversy and explore new around. Their production of Macbeth showed how successfully they could perform some of the more traditional aspects of drama. "Box of Fear" demonstrated once again their ability to promote thoughtful discussion of their chosen subject.
reviewer:
Newslink (from the Theatr Iolo web site)
Box of Fear by devised by the company
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June-19-96
YOU could think the only problems of racism in Wales were about Welsh Na- tionalism and English imperialism, relatively safe areas of dispute, if you didn't happen to notice that what used to be called colour prejudice (a polite euphemism) was on the march and involved actual physical harm to people.
Racial attacks in Wales have increased by 325 per cent and the three Glamorgans (as they were) had. more incidents than anywhere in Britain outside London and Manchester.
Yet where was all this conflict on the stage? The search for the Celtic soul and Welsh identity had no time for such social reality - racism was invisible in the- atre and still is, broadly speaking - there has, as far as I am aware, been no play produced that has tackled the real racism in Wales, or indeed the links between nationalism and the National Front, but Theatr Iolo's latest piece does tackle racial harassment head on.
Commissioned by Cardiff County Council as part of its anti-racist policies, Box of Fear is a simple story of a young boy of Indian parentage born in Manchester who has to put up with "Paki filth" abuse in a climate where adult racism is seen within a context of trade union protectionism and job threats. The boy's friendship with a white classmate offers some kind of hope.
The play, while admirable in intent is thin and its main purpose, I guess, is to stimulate discussion afterwards.
Here, maybe, it can be decided if the company has ducked the issue by not selling it firmly in Cardiff ("This is England", said the bigoted father at one point, in justification of white supremacy) or being tougher in approach.
Box of Fear is also part of Cadmad's Arts Festival.
reviewer:
David Adams

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