Protest Song is an account of the Occupy movement as seen through the eyes of one of the long-term homeless residents of St. Paul's cathedral in London.
It takes the form of a monologue from Danny, powerfully played by Rhys Ifans and loosely based on the homeless residents who became an active part of the camp. Through this unlikely hero we are given an insight into this remarkable political moment.
At first Danny is resentful when hundreds of tents suddenly appear in the churchyard, and dismissive of the occupiers' political pretensions.
But as the play progresses we are able to see the development of Danny’s political consciousness. It is in the kitchen that he is able to find a place to integrate himself into the life of the camp by taking on one of the main practical tasks required.
He begins to function as one of the “activists” participating in the General Assemblies where he declares, “This is a protest not a camp”.
The playwright, Tim Price, collaborated with many former occupiers in developing the script and the result is a play which captures some of the essence and atmosphere of Occupy.
It doesn't shy away from the contradictions inherent in such a situation, and it poses questions about the prefigurative politics which often flow from such moments
Occupy might not have saved the 99 percent from the 1 percent. But it was certainly a transformation for many who took part. As Danny concluded, “Occupy fucked up a lot of people—because it gave us hope.”