Play looks at explosive issues and how media creates celebrity…
IT caused quite a stir in Edinburgh last year when it premiered there and now it’s heading to London.
The play, “Pole Factor” by Nazish Khan was one of our selected highlights from last year’s Edinburgh fringe festival. http://asianculturevulture.com/portfolios/women-on-the-verge-of-great-things-in-edinburgh/
Now the debut play, which deals with a Muslim girl controversially entering a pole dancing competition, comes to the Vault Festival, which takes place at the atmospheric labyrinth of tunnels situated under Waterloo Station from January 28-March 8.
“Pole Factor” runs for four nights during the festival from February 4 and has a new lead in the shape of Reena Lalbihari who takes over from Natasha Atherton, due to other commitments.
Also on board for the London debut is director Bernie C. Byrnes.
“Edinburgh was really about testing the ground,” Khan told www.asianculturevulture.com last week. “It was a bit of an experiment taking it up there and we didn’t really know what to expect and whether we would have to drag people off the street to come and see it.
“In the end, it was quite the opposite. We wondered whether we were going to be able to seat everyone who wanted to see it.”
Khan said the play has taken more of a political direction since Edinburgh.
It is something of a satire on celebrity culture, but also manages to weave reflections about British Muslim identity, mental health and the simple ebbs and flows of friendships, both male and female, over a period of time.
Khan said her mother had yet to see it but was due to with friends.
“There may be some raised eyebrows,” Khan conceded.
A four-character play focused around the central character of Coco, who wows the judges on the “Pole Factor” and takes a strident position when there are protests, it charts the journey of a young girl looking for a role and an identity.
It also shows how the media helps and hinders her in that as three friends, some new and some old,also guide and influence her choices.
“It’s exciting, Bernie has taken it in a more concentrated direction,” said Khan.
Byrnes has just returned from directing actors at the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai, one of that city’s best known. She is an award-winning writer and director whose previous commissions include Soho Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare.
She is currently associate artist in residence at the New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth and holds a PhD in literary criticism.
Picture: Reena Lalbihari and Ian Baksh in Pole Factor, Edinburgh production (inset)
*Pole Factor, The Vaults Festival, February 4-8, tickets http://www.thevaultfestival.com/book/