Hidden World - Litter of Sandals
Oran Mor, Glasgow, Mon 25 Feb–Sat 1 Mar
Being able to address the oppressive regimes of recent world politics in mainstream lunchtime theatre is a luxury some countries simply do not have. In Hidden Worlds, playwright Stuart Delves’ newly-commissioned play for Oran Mor, the critical situation in Burma is presented not only to entertain, but to inform about the realities of Burmese life that are so heavily censored.
‘Like a lot of people, I was struck when the news of the protests hit the headlines last September,’ says Delves. ‘One of the things I realised was how little I knew about the situation, that it had been going on for over 40 years. I was quite shocked that I knew so little, it really was a hidden world. In effect, writing about Burma was going to be the best way of learning more.’
Brought together by a central narrator, the piece focuses on the lives of a number of people in this situation, building up a picture based on individual experience. ‘I saw this photograph in the Financial Times of a street in Rangoon after one of the riots had been dispersed, and it was littered with sandals,’ says Delves. ‘It immediately raised the question of the story behind each of the people wearing the sandals. That image allowed me a way in.’
Delves is aware of the need to entertain, and reveals that the piece contains some much needed gallows humour as well as having a serious political purpose. ‘I’m not an authority on Burma, and in no way is this a conclusive analysis of the situation. I suppose what I want from the play is to raise awareness, to interest people enough to go and find out more about this situation for themselves.’ Get along to Oran Mor and be provoked.