Presented by Mandala Theatre
Written by Nadia Davids
Directed by Yasmin Sidhwa
Capstone Theatre, Liverpool
25th January 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Given that the Nerve magazine are publishing a special issue within the next two months relating specifically to migration, asylum seekers and refugees, it was a timely moment to see and review this play about two teenage would-be asylum seekers taking shelter in a disused factory in England, gravely concerned about being deported.
As Mandala Theatre artistic director Yasmin Sidhwa commented,”They’re not coming here for no reason.” Night Light graphically pinpoints the often inhumane locations refugees have fled from, but sometimes to other territories which offer little empathy, support or understanding of their plight, if any at all, as is the case with the two refugees featured in this production, Salma (Aimee Powell) and Tariq (Zakaria Zerouali).
They both frequently utter monologues describing their past lives, and the death of relatives and losing their homes, and what they have had to endure with passionate zeal.
Tom (Oliver Davis), an asylum social worker, attempts to help them in their suffering but he becomes the centre of their anger and frustration. It reaches such a point that Salma cries out in anguished mental pain, “Would it have been better to die with everyone else when you have nothing?”
Documentary images are screened of the horrors refugees have faced, including Alyan Kurdi, the three-year-old child from Syria, of Kurdish ethnic background, washed up on a Turkish beach after the boat he was in sank in the Mediterranean Sea.
Night Light is a powerful, dark and provocative piece of theatre. Mandala Theatre have aptly described it as ‘visceral theatre.’