A captive’s audience

By Ewa Manthey Source:Global Times Published: 2012-9-12 18:30:03

So, there's this Englishman, Irishman and an American. No, it's not the first line to a racist joke, but the background to a play about three hostages held in a Lebanese prison, and which is really nothing to laugh about.

The latest addition to Shanghai's theater scene is GreenLight Productions, and in conjunction with the Irish Consulate in the city, it will be staging Frank McGuinness' Someone Who'll Watch over Me.

Directed by Ann C. James, the play stars familiar faces from the Shanghai theater scene, Jim Bennett, Paul Johnson and Mustaq Missouri.

A production photo from Someone Who'll Watch over Me Photo: Courtesy of GreenLight Productions
A production photo from Someone Who'll Watch over Me Photo: Courtesy of GreenLight Productions

Humorous moments

"Even though the story is very sad, it has its humorous moments as well," James told the Global Times. "There are a lot of touching moments in the play, especially when the characters talk about their families and how much they miss them. It is a very universal story. Expats in Shanghai are also disconnected from their families in the same way."

The 1992 play is based on the traumatic experiences of Brian Keenan who was held in Lebanon in the late 1980s. The story follows Adam, an American doctor, Edward, an Irish journalist, and Michael, a British academic, who are all chained up in a Beirut prison for seemingly no reason.

"I can somehow relate to what the characters are feeling," said James, who before moving to Shanghai lived in Sudan for two years just before the country was split in two. "There were curfews for foreigners and sometimes we were placed under house arrest," she said.

In the play each of the characters remains chained up to a wall for the duration. "The actors can move only as far as the chains allow them," James said. "That was a big challenge for the actors. But they are very experienced and I couldn't be happier with the casting."

Big hearted

James' favorite character is Michael, the Englishman. "His heart is so big and his situation at the end of the play is so touching. I think it is the most touching piece of theater I have ever seen in my life."

Someone Who'll Watch over Me won the 1993 New York Drama Critic's Circle Award for best foreign play and was nominated for a couple of Tony Awards. "The play resonates to the world stage right now. It is very topical. It could have happened yesterday," said James.

Date: September 22 to October 2, 8:30 pm, September 30, 11:30 am

Venue: Strictly Designers United

Address: 101-102, 601 Waima Road


Tickets: 200 yuan (at the door), 180 yuan (pre-sale)

Call 1376-4629-212 for details


Posted in: Metro Shanghai

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