Toy Plastic Chicken illustrates how racism impacts individual lives for the most meaningless of reasons
- Gareth K Vile
- 7 May 2019
Uma Nada-Rajah's sharp political satire is based on an absurd, yet true, story
Having first been presented at the Hidden Door Festival in 2018, Uma Nada-Rajah's Toy Plastic Chicken disguises a sharp political satire beneath an absurd, yet true, conceit. Such is the paranoia of airport security, she was strip-searched for carrying a children's toy in her hand-luggage. Following the increasingly hysterical actions of the airport staff – who decide that the heroic action is to intimidate an innocent passenger until they realise their destiny as symbols of the public insecurity that fuels xenophobia, bullying and ridiculous procedures to 'keep the country safe' – Nada-Rajah's protagonist discovers that the full-force of the law can arrive for arbitrary reasons, but can never crush the human spirit.
Combining Nada-Rajah's witty but trenchant script with Paul Brotherston's direction promises that this entry in A Play, A Pie and A Pint season will reveal both the surrealism of the incident and provide a sardonic commentary on contemporary politics, bringing to life an incident that illustrates how racism impacts individual lives for the most meaningless of reasons. Nada-Rajah is able to draw out the humour of the situation – the chicken itself provides plenty of laughter – but never loses sight of the deeper, troubling issues: as she says, she hopes that the audience will experience 'laughter, rage, self-reflection and elation'.
Òran Mór, Glasgow, Mon 6–Sat 11 May; Traverse, Edinburgh, Tue 14– Sat 18 May.