Socialist Worker

Play that takes you to the heart of the events

by Berit Kuennecke
Issue No. 1949

Bloody sunday is the latest in the series of tribunal plays staged by the Tricycle Theatre in London.

Two of its most successful predecessors were The Colour of Justice, about the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and Guantanamo, which played to packed audiences in London before moving to New York.

This time, Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicholas Kent have teamed up to bring us extracts from the Saville Inquiry into the killing of 13 civilians by British soldiers during a demonstration in Derry on 30 January 1972.

The set on stage resembles the inquiry room. Screens surround the audience, on which documents relating to the individuals taking the witness stand are flashed up.

We can read the statements they initially gave after Bloody Sunday, as well as hear their take on the events over 20 years later. This is especially interesting in the case of one of the soldiers questioned.

Sitting through the testimonies and looking at pictures of some of the people killed is a very emotional experience. You get an inkling of how gruelling it must have been for the relatives.

To call Bloody Sunday a “play” in the conventional sense would be misleading. A more suitable term is probably “documentary theatre”.

This documentary nature allows us to gain an insight into the circumstances and arguments surrounding the events in 1972. It successfully crystallises key moments from the Saville Inquiry.

This play manages to put across an overall sense of the inquiry to a far wider layer of people.

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Article information

Sat 30 Apr 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1949
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