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Death becomes her: A Brief List Of Everyone Who Died @finborough

For a natural process, death is not a topic that comes up naturally for people. We ask how people are doing but expect the response to be “I’m great”, not “I’m not dead yet”. And so for the main character in A Brief List of Everyone Who Died, Graciela has a death issue. Starting with when she was five and found out only after the matter that her parents had her beloved dog euthanised. So Graciela decides that nobody she loves will die from then on. And so this piece becomes a fruitless attempt at how she spends her life trying to avoid death while it is all around her. It’s currently having its world premiere  at the Finborough Theatre . As the play title suggests, it is a brief list of life moments where death and life intervene for the main character, from the passing of relatives, cancer, suicides, accidents and the loss of parents. Playwright Jacob Marx Rice plots the critical moments of the lives of these characters through their passing or the passing of those around them. Howeve

Thinking out loud: 10 Nights @Bushtheatre

Shahid Iqbal Kahn's 10 Nights, currently playing at the studio space of the Bush Theatre, is about what happens when a young, carefree British Muslim man spends the last ten nights of Ramadan in a mosque. But it isn't a story about religion or radicalisation. It is a more straightforward journey.

Yasser (Zaqi Ismail) gets around in a tracksuit and sandals. He likes a drink, and he loves chips. A reluctant participant in the i'tikaf, he did it for his father and to honour his friend who died in a car accident. The reasons for the accident become more evident as the story progresses.

Left alone for long periods between prayers and fasting, it becomes the inner monologue of Yasser. And as the days progress with only his thoughts and a few smug fellow worshippers to keep him company, he realises he has to face up to a few things.

What it may lack in drama is made up in the detailed characterisations by Ismail of his father and friends at the mosque. There are also enough explanations about the prayers and Allah's 99 names for those unfamiliar with the religion to keep up. 

The production is a Graeae and Tamasha co-production that uses British Sign Language and captions alongside the performances. It's a simple staging but what is engaging is the storytelling and the scene-setting through both the detailed descriptions and Ismail's performance.

Directed by Kash Arshad, 10 Nights is at the Bush Theatre until 6 November. All performances are audio described, use British Sign Language and are performed in a relaxed environment. 

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Photos by Ali Wright 

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