Theatre in Wales

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Theatr Iolo

Theatr Iolo-Box of Fear , Barry Memorial Hall , June 1, 1996
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.

Reviewed by: Newslink (from the Theatr Iolo web site)

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