Playwright Beverley Andrews shines a light on less obvious casualties of war in new play Annawon’s Song, which runs as part of VAULT Festival next month. Book your tickets now!
The multimedia drama, which follows the stories of a Native American military veteran and a young Afghani orphan, runs at The Vaults on 15 & 16 February 2020.
When the guns are silent and the peace treaty is signed it is only then that we see the true legacy of any conflict.
Following service in Afghanistan, a Native American US soldier returns home, wounded in both body and mind. His story is twinned with that of the Afghani teenager who, having lost his parents, is being groomed to be a suicide bomber.
Both stories are haunted by the massacre of Wounded Knee, a massacre which took place in America in the late 1800s. It was carried out by the American army in the wake of the mystical movement of the Ghost Dancers which swept the American plains.
Annawon’s Song highlights the struggle of one man to reclaim his life. The piece highlights the fact that after the guns are silent and the peace treaty is signed, it is only then that we become aware of a conﬂict’s true cost. There are never really any real winners, only casualties.
The statistics around Native Americans fighting for the US army are quite astounding. During the First World War, between 3,000 and 6,00 native Americans enlisted to fight. 6,500 more were drafted. Of that number, five percent died in action as opposed to one percent of American forces overall. During the Vietnam War, 25% of eligible Native Americans served, compared to 8% of the general population. Native Americans continue to serve at a disproportionately high rate. Many veterans return to a lower standard of living, greater chance of unemployment and have physical and psychological problems that they don’t have the resources to treat.
Andrews, who is also a director, documentary maker and journalist, created Annawon’s Song in response to a series of interviews conducted with a former Native American service man, a war correspondent based in both Iraq and Afghanistan and a former occupant of a refugee camp in Afghanistan. It has been developed in with the support of Arts Council England and was shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award, Sundance Theatre Lab and Autry’s Native Voices.
Andrews’ work has appeared on stages in both the UK and New York. Her play on the work of Asian suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh, Sophia, was recorded for a podcast and is available as part of the Forgotten Women podcast on Spotify. The play was also produced in 2019 in Bhutan, with another production set for 2020 at Tara Arts Theatre. Her documentary on the work of Arcola Theatre, I am Going to Make a Miracle, was a recipient of three international awards and was subsequently bought by Sky Arts.
Daniel Mark Collins, Jay Rincon and Diana Bermudez star in Annawon’s Song. Nashville native Collins boasts US stage credits including the regional premier of Doug Wright’s Posterity, London credits including the UK premiere of Stolen and led the cast of feature film How to Get from Here to There. Rincon has appeared in stage productions worldwide, and in TV series including Coronation Street and Cold Feet, while Bermudez boast screen credits including Rambo: First Blood, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Shakespeare & Hathaway.
Annawon’s Song is directed by Murray Woodfield, director of the UK Film Festival London. His previous stage productions include Voices from September (Old Vic), Shadowless (Bridewell Theatre), Zebra (King’s Head Theatre) and Andrews’ Mixers at Soho Theatre.
Running from 28 January to 22 March 2020, VAULT Festival describes itself as “London’s biggest, boldest and wildest arts and entertainment festival”. Running across Waterloo, in 2019 it attracted more than 79,000 audience members to see 428 different shows staged by more than 2,000 artists.
Its 2020 offering features a hugely eclectic set of productions including Grid Theatre’s Kafka-inspired tale of a captured ape Red Peter, true tale of slave who fought to change the world, Sold and dance piece exploring living in a foreign country, Living Here?.
Annawon’s Song runs at Crescent – The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN from 15 to 16 February 2020, with performances Saturday at 4.45pm and Sunday at 3.15pm & 9.15pm. Tickets are priced £13. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!