With a title as dramatic as TERRORISM, one would assume a play full of riveting action sequences and pathetic attempts to depict explosions with limited technical equipment. But the Presnyakov Brothers present an experience far more personal and terrifying than any amount of fake blood could achieve.
Written in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Presnyakov Brothers sought to explore the palpable fear gripping global society. Understandably, the world was fixated on ‘bombs, murder and violence’, as the media assured us that the danger in this world came from continents far away from our homes. But the Presnyakov Brothers saw this as a distraction: a scapegoat for all our unhappiness and suffering. TERRORISM explores the everyday atrocities we commit, revealing how society has become numb to the dangers of mundane life, and how the ordinary words of an ordinary person can hurt us in ways that physical violence never could.
The six seemingly isolated scenes present us with an intensified reflection of everyday life. The characters talk in the imperfect conversational language we are so accustomed to, discussing trials and tribulations that seem painfully relatable. And yet, as the play progresses, we see how each of us bear responsibility for one another, with the actions of a single character rippling throughout the play. By the end, we understand that what we say and do will always have consequences, even if we are unaware of them. Indeed, it is clear that ‘innocence’ is only an illusion achieved by our blindness to our actions.
This is not to suggest the play is devoid of laughter, with some scenes presenting an almost farcical set up. For us, the balancing of the humour and the horror is vital to capture the intended experience of the play, as the audience is often encouraged to chuckle at dark moments. If you catch yourself laughing at a scene which, on paper, should be far from funny, do not feel guilty. You are part of the society that the Presnyakov Brothers seek to expose.
TERRORISM is a play that urges us to be more aware of our everyday actions. With society fixated on blaming external forces for suffering and unhappiness, the Presnyakov Brothers show how ‘we kill ourselves, don’t we.’ As bizarre as it is touching, TERRORISM brazenly holds a mirror to our faces; we wonder what you will make of the reflection.
Suffragette Theatre Company’s TERRORISM is on 9th-10th March at 7:30pm and 10th March at 3:30pm in the Durham Union Chamber.