In a London psychiatric hospital, an enigmatic patient claims to be the son of an African dictator - a story that becomes unnervingly plausible. An incendiary tale of race, madness and a Darwinian power struggle at the heart of a dying National Health Service, Blue/Orange premiered at London's Cottesloe Theatre in April 2000 and transferred to the West End in 2001.
Paperback, 128 pages
April 13th 2000
by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama
A play about the struggle of power, race and use of language in an NHS hospital. The language and plot developments are clever, slowly weaving the characters and their words together it also harks back to the PC brigade of what you can and call people and what is procedure and what is right and if being PC is right. It is also a bit Pinteresque as the action all takes place in one room over the course of a day. Worth a read for anyone interested in contemporary theatre or race in theatre.
I saw the West End production with Bill Nighy as the consultant and it was fabulous. Later I saw I rather poor rendition of the same play at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle. This tells me that much of the power of the book is in the subtext. The fundamental insecurity of the three main characters is not so much in the words as in the group dynamics; all of them have vulnerabilities. Sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, this remains one of my favorite late 20th Century Plays.