Trident Moon at the Finborough Theatre
Continuing its 30-year tradition of showcasing new theatrical talent and breaking new ground, the Finborough Theatre gives Indian-Canadian Anusree Roy’s newest play its London debut. Trident Moon tells the story of a group of women hiding inside the back of a truck at the very beginning of India’s emancipation from British rule. As India and Pakistan were partitioned along religious grounds in 1947, Hindus fled to the new India whilst Muslims made their way to West and East Pakistan. In the wake of the partition, a war raged between communities that killed over a million people, Roy’s play is the fictional, but altogether likely, story of a group of women who are trying to desperately to flee this conflict.
Stage veteran Sakuntala Ramanee’s Alia is undoubtedly one of the standouts, her calibrated evil is shot through with desperate emotion – and with her crucial backstory as the former servant of her passengers, of whom she is now in command. Rebecca Banatvala’s performance as the mentally disabled Arun reaches multiple levels, placing modern discussions about mental illness in the context of a historical religious war. Sejal Keshwala’s Pakhi brings some humour to the situation, but is loaded with pathos as perhaps the most displaced of all the Indian women in the drama.
Were this drama set in the present day, the women would be called “refugees” and the setting would perhaps be the back of a truck leaving Aleppo, or Turkey, for Europe. Whilst the play is rooted in its historical milieu, it would not be overanalysing to suggest that Roy is talking as much about women in war zones today as in 1947, and women’s stature in the world more generally. The characters in the drama are subjugated in practically every possible manner – for live theatre, it is sometimes hard to watch.
Fred Riding’s sound and Jai Morjaria’s lighting work are impeccable, blending together an atmosphere without being intrusive. Director Anna Pool strikes exactly the right tone, allowing Roy’s script to be fully realised. Trident Moon is perhaps one of the most necessary plays of the present time, it must be watched as a reminder of the past, an indication of the present and a warning about the future. Above all else, it is theatre of the highest calibre, and deserves its West End debut imminently.
Trident Moon is at the Finborough Theatre from 8th October until 18th October 2016, for further information and to book ticket visit here.