My Mind is Free
- Gareth K Vile
- 31 October 2018
A statement of serious intent and kindness
Covering multiple stories of contemporary human trafficking – and with a sting in its final destination, My Mind is Free belongs to the theatre-in-education tradition, sketching out the conditions that lead to the entrapment of optimistic and hurt individuals in a vicious web of exploitation. There is no subtle tragic downfall, only the powerful statement of condemnation supported by a detailed examination of the processes of trafficking. Simultaneously insisting on the immediacy of the problem and bringing the survivors' stories to life, it attacks the stereotypes of migration and refuses to dress the difficulties in the politeness of theatrical form.
At times, its physical theatre interludes are predicable and unimaginative, but repeated use of the tableaux condenses the human narratives into striking summations of the relationships destroyed by this wicked trade. Rah Rah theatre are clearly fighting the good fight, and the decision to take the work into churches and communities halls makes the after-show discussion more vital and vibrant, with the guest from an appropriate charity leading the audience towards action.
If the actors sometimes err on the side of pieties in their answers to the questions from the audience, their commitment to their performance and getting the message across is admirable: despite the horrific details, each individual narrative is given vibrancy and the compassion for the victims is evident. Theatre becomes not an aesthetic end but a political weapon, a rhetorical cry for justice and kindness, and the remembrance of the value of all human life.
Although this production does little to address the system that encourages migration – there are hints at the financial power of the West and the pressure placed on the individual to earn and be useful – it makes a bold declaration of disgust and it does operate as a cleansing of various misconceptions and prejudices.