Enormous Yes explore home truths about the home front in The Forbidden Experiment

Rob Jones and Michael John O’Neill explore language deprivation experiments in WWII

Enormous Yes explore home truths about the home front in The Forbidden Experiment

both Rob Jones and Michael John O’Neill – collectively known as Enormous Yes – have plenty of theatrical form. O’Neill was one of the Traverse Fifty writers, and Jones was a key member of underground performance troupe Flatrate, before going on to work with the National Theatre of Scotland and Òran Mór’s A Play, a Pie and a Pint series. Previous outings from the duo have examined dishonesty and complicity in grassroots politics, and messed around with the traditional format of theatre, staging one show in a boardroom.

The Forbidden Experiment began as a study of James IV’s 1493 attempt to discover humanity’s original language, through the unethical abandoning of two babies on the island of Inchkeith to grow up without hearing a human voice. Investigating the island, via a freedom of information request, Enormous Yes discovered that the Ministry of Defence also had an interest in the effects of language deprivation.

The pair’s interest in using theatre as a place for exploring ideas led Jones and O’Neill to decide to use their Platform 18 award – given by the Arches to outstanding emerging creators – to reveal some home truths about the home front during WWII. Although the company are unwilling to reveal more before the production, they promise a shocking story of counter-intelligence and confusion.

The Arches, Glasgow, Tue 22–Fri 25 Apr; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 1–Sat 3 May.

The Forbidden Experiment

Enormous Yes present a piece exploring language deprivation and the forbidden acts that took place on the island of Inverleith by both King James IV of Scotland in 1493 and the British Army during WWII.


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