Annie George on Home is Not the Place: 'We are history, poured out on to fragile pages'
- Gareth K Vile
- 14 February 2020
The writer and performer explores the legacy of her poet grandfather and living on through art and language
'Story is everything and everything is story,' says Annie George. 'The personal story is important in my work. I think that this is crucial in helping to diversify the sector: there seems to be a neglect or under-appreciation of artists from diverse backgrounds, or indeed of mature artists, like there's nothing to learn from them. Well, I beg to differ!'
Home is Not the Place examines the writer and performer's experiences as a migrant, and the life of her grandfather, the Kerala poet PM John. George's belief in theatre's potential as a place for both public conversations about the big ideas and personal history manifests in parallel contemplations on her own life and John's legacy. 'PM John died 25 years before I was born, so writing this play was a way of getting to know him, and to pass on to my children the history that shaped them,' she continues. Because John was born in 'the little village in the middle of nowhere', he was forced to become 'a pioneer' to forge his career as a poet. 'Most importantly, because he wrote, he lives on through his words,' George continues.
George's plays demonstrates that not only can theatre be a place to capture excluded parts of the past, but can give meaning and vitality to life through language. 'We each have the right to tell our stories. If we don't, it'd be as if we never existed. It is our immortality. As I say in the play, we are history, poured out on to fragile pages.'
Home is Not the Place, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Fri 21 & Sat 22 Feb