Life of Pi
- Greer Ogston
- 27 February 2007
Citizen’s Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 13-"Sat 17 Mar
We’re fascinated by shipwreck, or, more recently, plane crashes, stories that leave people stranded, fending for themselves. Outwith recognisable societal confines, who defines right and wrong? What would you do?
Yann Martel’s 2002 Booker Prize-winner has been adapted for the stage by Andy Rashleigh for Twisting Yarn, the only company given the rights to stage the text. It follows Pi’s inspired journey from India to Canada during which he’s stranded at sea with nothing but a zebra, hyena, orang-utan, Richard Parker the tiger, and his wits, to survive.
Director Keith Robinson explains, ‘Part one equips Pi to survive his ordeal with his upbringing in a zoo with three different religions. In part two it all happens, at sea in a lifeboat.’ It’s a story about life, survival, faith and imagination, as Robinson adds: ‘Martel wanted to challenge our beliefs’.
A play that examines religious stereotypes seems a good fit for Bradford-based, multicultural company Twisting Yarn. ‘I’m constantly on the look-out for tales and stories that throw up interesting themes. We’ve created an ambiance where Pi can ask questions about religion that we’re usually not allowed to, because it’s all new to him.’
The play throws Pi into situations where standard morality doesn’t apply. ‘Both versions of events contain killing and cannibalism,’ says Robinson. ‘The myth that eating human flesh makes you mad evokes recent memories from the BSE crisis. There are certain rules of nature you can’t cross or things go wrong.’