'13' by Mike Bartlett
“A powerful, disturbing play about the values by which we live and one that passionately argues for some kind of spiritual revolution”- The Times
Across London, people wake up from an identical, terrifying dream. At the same moment, a young man named John returns home after years away to find economic gloom, ineffective protest, and a Prime Minister about to declare war. But John has a vision for the future and a way to make it happen.
In a year which has seen governments fall and hundreds of thousands take to the streets, 13 explores the meaning of personal responsibility, the hold that the past has over the future and the nature of belief itself.
With the world as it is at the moment, who can deny that this play is relevant to the times we live in. In the play, they argue over bombing Iran. Today, we argue about bombing Syria.
“Mike Bartlett's '13' is a new play about civil unrest in a nightmarish parallel London. It started with student riots and ends in a big Downing Street set piece, and links them via a dozen individual storylines. It was a big challenge - and a fantastic opportunity for this talented young cast. As our world becomes ever more confusing and the number of heard voices increases, this style of multi-layered, collaborative and somewhat confused play is only going to become more popular. The well-made and carefully crafted play doesn’t mirror our difficult and postmodern world, theatre must respond to it. 13 asks each and every one of us to interrogate our own beliefs and values and opens up a discourse which must and will take place.” Andrew Pullen, Head of Drama
The two central voices in the production come from a female Conservative Prime Minister (Liv Owen) and a messiah-type figure in John (Harry Walker), the former of whom defends her ‘considered’ approach to politics while the other rises up through a mini-internet revolution to become the voice of the people, fighting for freedom of speech and idealism. Around this central story there are dozens of other tales of love, loss, parenthood and faith which all share the theme of belief and ignorance.
This adds yet more relevance to today’s events, everything happens on the internet, you can find anything you want at the click of a button, so how better to spread your message than through a screen?
ClassAction Theatre at Godalming College developed this idea within the production inviting the audience to involve themselves with the central narrative, to interact with the characters on social media; utilising live tweets and Facebook messages/uploads during the show.
ClassAction raised £364 for SHOOTING STAR CHASE hospice care in Guildford, a special place that’s close to us and our hearts. SHOOTING STAR CHASE provides a network of care for life-limited young people and their families living in South West London, Surrey and Sussex through their children's hospice, Christopher's, and a home- and community-based care service.