It’s black and white – no means no. That should be enough right? Except all too often, sadly it isn’t, and the many different ways in which this is true form the bedrock of Consent, Nina Raine’s new play for the National Theatre, co-produced with Out of Joint.
Rape is such a serious social issue that it’s hardly surprising that several recent plays have tackled it. I’m thinking of Gary Owen’s Violence and Son, James Fritz’s Four Minutes Twelve Seconds and Evan Placey’s Consensual. All of these discuss, whether implicitly or explicitly, the notion of consent, which is the name of playwright and director Nina Raine’s latest drama about the subject.
North Korea is the kind of place that haunts the imagination of the West – and not in a good way. One of the last hardline Communist dictatorships, it is also a country of immense sadness, a landscape of food shortages and human-rights abuses. Yet its regime calls this dismal place the “Best Nation in the World”. To us, it’s a secret world, a strange culture difficult to comprehend, easy to fear. Small wonder that, in American playwright Mia Chung’s 2012 play, two hungry sisters fantasise about leaving it for good.