‘Firefly‘, by Donella Fox, is one of the ‘Angelic Tales‘, a week-long run of rehearsed readings from new writers, the brainchild of Rikki Beadle Blair and part of the Theatre Royal Stratford East’s adventurous programme for 2012.
This is Fox’s first play and draws on her experience in child protection – it’s a deep, dark tale of a confused relationship between a troubled teacher, a confused Muslim student and a whole host of other deeply flawed individuals. Sitting through it was quite harrowing – although handled with some restraint the story presents scenes of violent rape, child abuse, people trafficking and drug abuse, and ends with just the tiniest chink of light to alleviate the horror of what has gone before. Drawing on conversations I had following the play it was clearly a very profound experience for the rest of the audience, not least because the scenes that were played out were so plausible. Sadly, a young person somewhere is probably being failed by the system right now and falling prey to predatory adults in the way that young Mohammed is in the story. I’d very much like to see what Fox comes up with next – ‘Firefly‘ is a remarkable achievement for a new writer.
The next series of ‘Angelic Tales‘, which for the most part will be of a much lighter tone than this piece I’m sure, are coming to the Theatre Royal Stratford East in June. The theatre is currently inviting new writers to submit their work for possible inclusion in the programme, with a closing date of 31 March. If you think you’ve got it in you to be a playwright, why not submit a script – the submission guidelines can be downloaded from this link. From the post-play discussion with the writer and actors it appears that there’s lots of support from Beadle Blair’s team to refine and hone the new pieces for performance.
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