Thursday, 5 March 2009

”The play’s the thing…”

Oh, dear. The perpetually-aggrieved are up in arms yet again:
Campaigners have already disrupted one talk before a performance of Richard Bean's play, England People Very Nice, by mounting the first onstage demonstration in the National Theatre's 32-year history.

However, they are now planning to picket audiences arriving at the theatre and Travelex, one of the National's main sponsors.
And their problem…?
Bean's play charts the settling of the French Huguenot, Irish, Jewish and Bengali communities in Bethnal Green since the 17th century.

The National has billed it as "a riotous journey through four waves of immigration" in the East End of London.
Seems like just the sort of thing we need, doesn’t it? A look back at the advantages - and disadvantages - of our history of immigrant waves? In just the same way the BBC is happy to spend our money on special ‘Eastenders’ episodes looking at ‘the black experience’. I don’t recall protests about that.

It seems not all agree:
After his protest Mr Ismail, 43, said: "Richard Bean is making it seem like all Bangladeshis are drug dealers or users, muggers and marry their cousins."

Mr Kinsella, a teacher from London, said: "I find it outrageous that a play that could have been written by a racist Year Nine pupil has been allowed to be performed at the National – a publicly funded theatre."
Odd thing to say – does ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ make it seem like all Irish people are rural peasants? It’s drama, for god’s sake!

And I wonder just what Mr Kinsella ‘teaches’, if he believes that the National Theatre wouldn’t have had lawyers crawling all over anything potentially sticky before opening night.
Mr Ismail outlined his plan to take the protest to currency exchange firm Travelex, which sponsors the National's £10 ticket season.

He said he was doing this because Nicholas Hytner, the director of the National Theatre, had persistently rejected his requests for a head-to-head public debate.

He said: "I've asked Travelex to support and mediate our claim for a public debate. If they don't come back we will have to say that Travelex supports a racist play."
Listen, you odious little toad, he has no obligation whatsoever to hold ‘a head-to-head public debate’ with the likes of you. Who, exactly, do you think you are?
Accusing Hytner of being "reckless and irresponsible" in putting on a play he described as "childish and purposefully racist", he said: "He wants a national conversation, so let's have a public debate. He has put this out there; let us challenge it."
By picketing, and by disrupting legitimate theatre productions? That isn’t ‘challenge’.

If you don’t like Bean’s play, write one yourself – you are supposedly a ‘playwright’, or so you claim.
Ironically the play was meant to "lampoon" the sort of racist 'Alf Garnett' attitudes that all the four immigrant groups have experienced.

Nicholas Hytner, the director of the National Theatre, said: "The play lampoons all forms of stereotyping.

"It is a boisterous satire of stereotypes of French, Irish, Jews, Bangladeshis, white East End cockneys, Hampstead liberals and many others.

"Every stereotype is placed in the context of its opposite and it clearly sets out to demonstrate that all forms of racism are equally ridiculous."
Won’t matter – the Offended have spoken. Everyone else can presumably shut up. That’ll help integration, I’m sure….

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Mr Hytner and The National Theatre are thankful for the shedload of free publicity this brings. I'm sure many people who may not have bothered will now go and see the play. 'Bums on seats' will give the public's verdict.

Whilst not surprised by Mr Ismail's comments and behaviour, I am more worried by the attitudes displayed by this teacher chappie, Kinsella, I can picture him now, NUT lefty twat! Get a life!

Rob said...

It sounds totally fucking rubbish anyway, the sort of political crap you always get when the Arts are state-funded.

Still, it does illustrate yet again that the Left are tolerant of your right to free speech only if you say exactly what they want to hear.

Anonymous said...

More converts to bnp,keep it up guys.
Do they not realise this,are they so blinkered.

North Northwester said...

"Won’t matter – the Offended have spoken. Everyone else can presumably shut up. That’ll help integration, I’m sure…. "

Paid witch-hunters find witches. Publicly supported anti-British campaigners will find racism.

Here's a link to a Hussain Ismail linked to theatre and Bangladeshis

http://www.unltd.org.uk/directory_detail.php?ID=2999

so any thought that he might be some kind of quangocrat are immediately expelled...

and here's the chap for sure at the Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2009/feb/13/national-theatre-play-racist

...railing against stereotypes.
So race-hustlers and professional whiners aren't stereotypes at all; but rather fresh, diverse, new and unique social resources...

JuliaM said...

"..I am more worried by the attitudes displayed by this teacher chappie, Kinsella.."

Me too...

"Publicly supported anti-British campaigners will find racism."

Max Hastings had a few wise words on the subject of public funding for types just like Mr Ismail in the 'Mail'. Post coming later...