OUTRIGHT TERROR BOLD AND BRILLIANT
Minky [Italian] 12:10 I'm scaried...ma best friend's cousin lives in London n she can't find him at the telephone... OMG!! <crying or very sad><crying or very sad><crying or very sad><crying or very sad><sad>
This was a short play, written in response to the 7/7 London bombings, performed by the National Youth Theatre in August 2005, directed by John Hoggarth. It formed part of a three-week season of NYT Shorts, short plays all on the subject of ‘Young People at War’, performed at the Soho Theatre.
John asked me to write this after seeing A Modest Adjustment at the National. I didn’t immediately know what I’d write about but then, a few days later, the bombs erupted in London and I felt I couldn’t write about anything else.
The play has four parts to it. (a) an edited version of the messageboard for the boyband Blue on the morning of 7/7/2005. Blue were due to play that evening at Wembley and the board shows a move from excitement, to fear that the show will be cancelled, to dawning horror and sympathy for the deaths being reported, often expressed in strings of emoticons; (b) a group of fairground designers try to imagine the most terrifying ride possible; (c) a girl gang recall how they managed to bring down a bus; (d) a girl recalls her morning routine.
The production was exquisite, one of my most cherished memories of productions of my work. The cast were creative, weird, sassy and funny. They took to the weird dialogue with enormous enthusiasm. John made the Blue messageboard as a kind of chorus, beginning with everyone separate on separate computer keyboards, but then, as the horror sinks in, forming themselves as a community, the keyboards passing between them balletically, to the sound of Blur’s ‘Sweet Song’.
The cast was Sally Crawshaw, Rachel Denning, Rory Girvan, Tom Henry, Andrew Kaye, Sam Lindsay, Nadine Milner-Edwards, Simon Smith, Jade Walker.
You can read the play here.
The play had a sort of revival on 4 April 2017 as part of the National Youth Theatre's 50 Plays in a Day project. It was given a rehearsed reading, live-streamed on Facebook, by members of the Sheffield Lyceum Youth Theatre, produced by Ben Oliver.