Lung Theatre (venue)
06 November 2019 (released)
Trojan Horse is a play about the controversy surrounding a group of Birmingham schools, with one in particular, accused of fostering the radicalization of its pupils, undergoing government investigation and the consequences of that investigation on the lives of the people involved. The dialogue is based on interviews and public documents related to the case. The result is a feeling of authenticity to both the issues and the emotions surrounding them.
What comes across from the dialogue, mostly delivered in a declamatory style suitable to the circumstances of a mock trial but still retaining an authentic voice, is the complex interplay of government policy decisions, their unintended consequences and the impact of public debate via the media on the resolution of the situation. The writers clearly see the relation between the creation of Academies and their separation from control by the local council as the beginning of the cycle of events, the influence of a local community in asserting its needs, and the difficult role of the school head in balancing interests. The play provides a very useful and vivid example of the impact of public policy and politics on individual lives. Gove, in his role in the Department of Education, is seen as a political player using the incident for his own purposes and distorting the process as a result.
Expertly co-written by Helen Monks and Matt Woodhead and effectively directed by Woodhead with use of minimal staging, this is a play well-worth seeing as it brings home the importance of the policies and institutions that govern us and the complexity of the circumstances that drive the many mechanisms and wheels of that public machine.
The theatre company performing are LUNG who specialize in working with communities on current British political and social issues, often using actual stories and words of participants as part of their artistic process. It works effectively and makes for a fascinating and thought-provoking evening. The cast are all convincing and, in their performances, and the very basic staging, help move the story along and focus on the content of a very engaging and interesting evening.