Site Very Specific. The Container

This is a still from a play called The Container, by Clare Bayley, that tells the story of five migrants – two Afghans, two Somalis and a Turkish Kurd – who are crossing Europe, accompanied by a Turkish trafficker and an unseen lorry driver. Their hoped-for destination is the UK, land of dreams. But they are experiencing only nightmares: the grim memories of what drove them from their homes, the stench of the container, and the fear of an unknown future.

The play literally takes place inside a shipping container, thousands of which I watch travel into and out of Hong Kong every day. When you talk about site-specific theatre you can’t get more specific than this. The audience sit in the container (maximum about 20) and are locked in there, with the 6 actors for the 65 minute duration of the play. The video is from a CNN piece, which gives a great visual flavour, but the third article below, Fancy seeing a play in here?, really gives you a sense of the powerful impact the experience had on the audience.

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The Container: A Captive Audience

Photo montage from the production

Fancy seeing a play in here?

Mind you not everyone agreed that the authenticity of the experience achieved its intended impact: The play aims to depict human trafficking as realistically as possible, but in doing so loses impact

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