- Credit: Archant
Stowaway, by Analogue, Pulse Presents, New Wolsey Theatre, September 18
A man’s frozen body is found in the car park of a London DIY store. He was a passenger on the Dubai to London Heathrow leg of an international flight. Unfortunately, his only opportunity to board the aircraft was to climb into the wheel arch of the plane. This is the story of others searching for his story; the story of a stowaway.
Based initially on the true events of a similar 2010 tragedy, Stowaway is written and directed by Hannah Barker and Lewis Hetherington. The pair took the story to India. People whose work in the east was for the benefits of the west were interviewed. In the UK refugees and asylum seekers were all part of the research process, as well as the second and third generations of Brits whose grandparents made the leap to head here to start life anew. Since 1947 there have been 103 incidents of stowaways on planes according the Migrants Resource Centre, who the company worked closely with.
“Every meeting offered us a new interpretation of our story,” say Barker and Hetherington. “There was no singular truth behind a story like this.
“Stowaway is our attempt to tell a version of this story inspired by multiple voices. It is our way of opening the door to vital conversations.”
This is not just the story of the man who fell from the sky, but the story of Andy who witnessed it and the impact it has on his family life. And Lisa, who was on the flight which, in preparing for landing and unfolding it’s wheels, drops the frozen body to the earth.
What drives somebody to the lengths they go to, to reach the UK Border? This is one version of a story. Stowaways on planes are few and far between now, and our current issue is that of foreign nationals who try to jump immigration control in the backs of lorries and in cars. There are also those trafficked, who don’t even make that choice.
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Well executed, Stowaway will leave you questioning not only the concept of the desperation of a new life, but also the right and entitlement we have to judge or tell those stories. The imagery portrayed in this depiction is fascinating, and the use of other members of the cast and chairs to acrobatically display the emotions and ambitions of a man who is trying to sneak, creep and save himself visually poetic. “We have been finding truth in the movement without it being all dance clicks and jazz hands,” Hetherington told me. “The poetic text is so beautifully written I wanted to do it justice.”
“You can’t get to the whole truth,” he continued. “We could only do a version of it.”
Stowaway will be showing at Shoreditch Town Hall on 9th/10th October alongside a special exhibition ‘My Journey’, which showcases the work of London migrants from all over the world.
Visit http://analoguetheatre.co.uk/portfolio/stowaway/ for more details.