This brilliant, utterly compelling hit play - a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe and London's National Theatre - tackles the Beslan school siege from the perspective of two indomitable youngsters caught up in the tragedy.
On 1 September 2004, 1200 schoolchildren and their parents and teachers were held hostage by a group of armed terrorists in a small town in the Caucasus. It lasted three days and ended in utter chaos. The whole world was shocked that the very worst evil (the terrorist) had chosen the very greatest good (a group of children) as their victims.
The play is not an account of this terrible drama, but about how the young deal with trauma, and what leads people to do the unthinkable. By capturing this terrible event from the unfiltered point of view of children, playwright and director Carly Wijs has created a wryly humorous, poignantly matter-of-fact and revelatory piece of theatre.
Strikingly physical in their performance, actors /dancers Gytha Parmentier and Roman Van Houtven bring a sense of innocence and levity to harrowing circumstances. Extreme situations are explained using expressive movement and absurd comic observation; choreography and conversation work exhilaratingly in tandem; and they cope with the unspeakable by constructing a world with its own creative logic, defined on a starkly minimalist set using only chalk lines, string and balloons.
"Us/Them is an extraordinary piece of theatre that manages to deal with a tragedy in a way that is sensitive, deeply moving, and important. In a world in which images of terrorism are so prevalent, Us /Them offers an alternative look at it, and one that lives long in the memory afterwards." David Doyle, The Reviews Hub
Recommended for ages 12+. Although the show is about a hostage situation no actual violence is shown.
Years 9-13: Drama, Dance/Physical Theatre, Social Sciences
Schools Matinee: Friday March 23 at 10.30am
Schools tickets: $15
Venue: Q Theatre, Rangtira
DOUBLE DAY OUT: Us/Them 10.30am PLUS The Naked Samoans Do Magic 12.30pm
Writer & Director: Carly Wijs
Performers: Gytha Parmentier and Roman van Houtven
Co-creator: Thomas Vantuycom
Designer: Stef Stessel
Lighting Design: Thomas Clause
Sound Design: Peter Brughmans
Dramaturg: Mieke Versyp
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***** " playful as it is heart-breaking and thought-provoking."— The Guardian