Tugging at the Sea Performance – The Place Theatre

7:00 PM
Saturday 21 September 2024

The Place Theatre
Bradgate Road, Bedford MK40 3DE

Tugging at the Sea is a community show produced by LegalAliens Theatre in collaboration with Bedford Creative Arts, and supported by Jackson’s Lane, The Place Bedford and The Engine Room Tottenham Hale.
Every year migrants and refugees who are regular participants in LegalAliens’ free theatre classes create a show. The performances teach them how to reclaim full ownership of their stories; build a better connection with people from a variety of backgrounds; develop confidence; and for those interested in a career in the arts, it’s a way to discover different jobs not only on stage but behind the curtains.

This year, a smaller, Bedford-based group, has also been offered the opportunity to develop material via a series of workshops run by our facilitators at The Place, Bedford.


DIrection/Dramaturgy: Lara Parmiani

Assistant Director: Angela Poulima

Facilitator: Nada Sabet

Art: Bern O’Donoghue

Projection Design: Edalia Day

SYNOPSIS: Tugging at the Sea is an absurdist comedy about the dangers of propaganda. Set on a fog-enshrouded island, its inhabitants adhere to a strict daily routine, engaged in a bizarre mechanical task: generating the fog through a complex contraption known as the F.O.G. At night, they are soothed to sleep by slogans: “Love the Fog, avoid the Others, We are the Best.” The island is governed by three Leaders whose primary mission is to craft these slogans and keep the F.O.G. operational. One day, an islander begins to question the identity of “the Others.” In response, the Leaders escalate their efforts, unveiling a larger, more ludicrous F.O.G. and a new, more terrifying slogan: STOP THE BOATS, warning of an impending invasion. However, their plan backfires. Terrified, the islanders destroy any boat they encounter, including toys and pedalos. Eventually, the F.O.G. malfunctions and the fog dissipates. The islanders finally see “the Others” for what they truly are: six people in a dinghy seeking help. Throughout the performance, the narrative is interspersed with “meta” moments where performers share stories, poems, or songs with the audience. As the play progresses, boats are constructed onstage, symbolising hope and connection.

LEGALALIENS THEATRE: LegalAliens is a Haringey-based ensemble and Theatre of Sanctuary founded by professional artists who are migrants in the UK. At the core of their vision is a theatre that platforms migrants and refugees as artists, creatives, participants and audiences. From devised works to plays in translation, to shows co-created with local communities, LegalAliens makes engaging, meaningful theatre that gives voice to those unheard. Shows include The Return (Etcetera Theatre and St James Theatre), Poker Face (Kings Head, VOILA and tour), Closed Lands (VAULT), The Box We Tick (Karamel), Ali in Wonder(Eng)Land (Jacksons Lane), Shapeshifting (Migration Matters Festival and tour), the series Generation Icons (in collaboration with Divadlo Leti Prague) and Migrations: Harbour Europe (in collaboration with Migration Dramaturgies Network) and the audio project/podcast Things I Am Not.
The company has also been running free theatre classes for refugees and migrants at The Engine Room in Tottenham for five years, the first organisation in the UK to offer a regular, free, migrant-led space for newcomers to the country to meet, feel welcome and learn creative skills.

LARA PARMIANI: Italian-born, but a Londoner since 1997, Lara is a quintessential migrant artist, influenced by all the people and places she’s met along her journey. An actor, dramaturg, director and facilitator with over two decades of theatre experience, she is the founder and Artistic Director of LegalAliens. She studied Dramaturgy at Milan University, followed by Performing Arts at Accademia Filodrammatici and Guildhall London, and she spent time studying in Paris with Peter Brook’s C.I.R.T. As an actor, she has worked across all genres from the classics to musicals, physical theatre to new writing. As a director, her practice is inspired by Peter Brook, Ann Bogart and Augusto Boal, and focused on finding a physical and visual approach to text. She is the co-founder of Migrants In Theatre. In addition to her theatre work, Lara is an award-winning voice-over artist.

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