Cut and pasted from the Tricycle website:
The Tricycle goes Nuclear
After 28 years as Artistic Director of the Tricycle, Nicolas Kent directs his final season, a festival of plays, films, talks, discussions, and exhibitions all about the Nuclear Bomb. In the theatre, THE BOMB – a partial history, a political history of the Nuclear Bomb and its proliferation from 1940 to the present day, will run concurrently with the festival. THE BOMB is presented in two parts: FIRST BLAST and SECOND BLAST.
THE BOMB – a partial history in two parts
FIRST BLAST: Proliferation (5 Short Plays)
FROM ELSEWHERE: THE MESSAGE… by Zinnie Harris
In a lab in Birmingham two physicists uncover something. If their calculation is right, it will change the course of the war, if anyone will listen.
CALCULATED RISK by Ron Hutchinson
This is the world that was made by the bomb that was dropped by the plane that we built on one day in August in 1945. After a landslide victory in the General Election of 1945, Clement Attlee finds himself in power, and within days the A-Bomb has been dropped on Japan. The war is over, but the Iron Curtain has descended from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic. The victorious powers have to decide how to handle a nuclear world – should Britain go it alone or shelter behind America’s skirts?
SEVEN JOYS by Lee Blessing
A gentleman’s club opens in 40s Washington with only one member, but as the years roll by membership suddenly doubles,then 2 becomes 4 and 4 becomes 8, and so on. What are the rules? And how on earth can they stop the membership proliferating? These are the worrying questions facing the founder members.
OPTION by Amit Gupta
In 1964 the People’s Republic of China carried out its first nuclear weapons-test. What followed in India was an intense period of soul searching. How should a nation founded on Gandhi’s principles of non-violence react? In 1968 under increasingly intense pressure from the US and the Soviet Union to sign their jointly initiated Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India finds herself at a crossroads. For three leading civil nuclear scientists the politicians’ decision of which path to pursue will mark a turning point in all of their lives.
LITTLE RUSSIANS by John Donnelly
The Soviet Union’s sudden collapse into chaos leaves the Ukraine and Kazakhstan with their fingers still on the nuclear button. The Russians and the Americans form an uneasy alliance to try to locate the missing missiles. However, deep in the countryside, a Ukrainian family have other ideas, and seize their chance of making quick money on the black market. In an anarchic look at power and politics, the ambitions of two super-powers are tested by a wheeler-dealing pair of scrap metal merchants.
SECOND BLAST: Present Dangers (5 Short Plays)
THERE WAS A MAN. THERE WAS NO MAN. by Colin Teevan
While Israel officially has no nuclear arms programme, few doubt it has; Iran claims this gives it the right to develop its own nuclear programme. Who will be the first to blink? When an Israeli and Iranian scientist meet at a conference in Jordan, their meeting has deep repercussions for their nations, their families and themselves.
AXIS by Diana Son
North Korea has always used their nuclear programme as a bargaining chip for aid. But when they suddenly find themselves branded as part of an Axis of Evil by the U.S, they prepare themselves for war.
TALK TALK FIGHT FIGHT by Ryan Craig
In a room in the United Nations in New York the European delegation prepare for their next session on Nuclear Non-Proliferation with Iran. Suddenly a CIA agent is at the door with an Iranian nuclear scientist, and a new negotiation strategy emerges. Is this breakthrough to be trusted?
THE LETTER OF LAST RESORT by David Greig
Britain has been devastated by a Nuclear strike and the Commander of a Trident submarine has to open his instructions: the letter of last resort. In Whitehall a woman struggles to write such a letter to an unimaginable future where the only safe place on the planet is under the sea in a submarine.
FROM ELSEWHERE: ON THE WATCH… by Zinnie Harris
Two weapons inspectors are outside the gates of a Nuclear plant in Iran. They have just completed an IAEA routine inspection of the site, but they are troubled by possible deception and the enormity of their responsibility.
Follow the link for all the details and to book tickets:
I saw both parts of this - First Blast and Second Blast - last Saturday (18 February) and I have to say that I absolutely loved it! I think it was the best set of short plays I have seen in a long long while. Both parts come highly recommended by me.
To start at the beginning. My own position on the nuclear weapons issue has been the same my whole life. I support the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) who are here:
I don't think nuclear weapons are a deterrent; they are lethal and dangerous. I would prefer Britain to give up her nuclear weapons, Trident, with immediate effect, even if that means Britain is disarming unilaterally. I really believe that Britain should lead the way on this issue and take the moral high ground. She should give up her nuclear weapons as they are useless and costly. It would actually show the rest of the world a better way of living and being.
Key questions that the British public should be asking themselves and their politicians on this are:
- How much exactly is Trident costing us financially?
- Is something that we can never use actually a real deterrent?
- What is the moral cost of commissioning these weapons, threatening to use these weapons, and, God forbid, actually using these weapons?
Nuclear weapons were, and are, a game changer. They represent a Revolution, not Evolution. They could be a new dawn on a new planet; or they could mean hell on earth; it depends on your standpoint and your point of view.
Having got that out of the way, I can move on to the set of plays. They are basically a set of modern day morality plays, looking at moral dilemmas and questions. Theatre does not do that enough these days, and so it is great to see 10 short plays all looking at moral questions. Overall, I thought the First Blast was stronger than the Second Blast, as I preferred the history and the context; but I am sure there are others who felt the exact opposite.
All the plays were excellent, but I am going to speak about the ones that spoke to me the strongest.
I fell in love with SEVEN JOYS by Lee Blessing. This presented in a very unique, clever, sharp and witty way, the blatantly obvious fact that nuclear weapons are a Pandora's Box. Once opened, they cannot be shut up again, and nor can owning them be restricted to just you and your friends, no matter how much you might like this to be the case. Once the cat is out of the bag, the weapons and their ownership will proliferate, and there is absolutely nothing even the superpowers can do about that.
I also loved OPTION by Amit Gupta. This looked at India and nuclear weapons. I loved the Indian Professor, a proud pacifist and Gandhian, who stood by his principles and stood up for what he believed to be right. His firm conviction was that, whilst it was right for India to explore nuclear power, she should not be exploring the nuclear weapons option. For his troubles, he was accused of being a traitor, and the fact that he was a Muslim was thrown back in his face as evidence of his treachery, even though he had been a good and loyal servant to India his whole life. Who needs the English to divide and rule when the Asians are so good at doing it themselves?! What spoke to me was the fact that the Professor kept the clock in his office stopped at 7 minutes to 12, which was the time that his grand-daughter had been born. This was to ensure that he always remembered the correct priorities in life; it was his moral compass. I just loved this play!
Finally, I just loved THE LETTER OF LAST RESORT by David Greig. What I loved about this play was the sheer Britishness of it. A new PM had been elected, it was her first day in Office, and she is confronted by John from arrangements, a civil servant, who insists she has to write the letter of last resort for the British Trident submarine commanders in the event of Britain being destroyed by a nuclear attack. The conversation, the discussion, the dilemmas, and the various options thought about and road-tested, are British down to a tee; and I just loved that about this play. One example which shows what I mean is when they talk about Radio 4 as the last bastion of civilisation; so that as long as Radio 4 is around, all is right with the world; but once that goes, that is the end of civilisation as we know it! I can't really explain or describe the Britishness contained in the play; you have to see it to see what I am talking about; but for me the play was special because it highlighted all the things that I love about the British, and their ways of thinking, and talking, and their ways of working, and their systems, and, well, just everything really. I will leave it at that.
Anyway, to summarise in a nutshell, GO AND SEE ALL TEN PLAYS AT THE TRICYCLE AS SOON AS YOU ARE ABLE TO FIT THEM IN! They are outstanding.
Huge kudos and a massive thank you to Nicolas Kent for everything he has done at the Tricycle during his long and distinguished tenure there. We will miss you!