REVIEW: Motherland. Malvern Cube.

In a world where the voices of Nationalism and Identity Politics seem to drown out peaceful debate, Motherland, which explores the theme of identity, gets the audience to question “who am I ?” in Modern Britain.

Malvern was the second of a nine stop tour of the play, Motherland”, written, directed and performed by Jo Tyabji.

It was the crowning moment in last weekend’s Theatre festival, ‘FEAST’ whose aim is to promote equality in arts and society through theatre.

What was unique about this intelligently written and performed show, was the technique of verbatim theatre (documented words, in the form of audio clips) that were expertly mimed and animated by Jo Tyabji. One moment you were listening to David Cameron’s voice, mimed, addressing a Wembley stadium full of British Indians, the next, hearing from Far Right agitators, the next from Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The relationship between Britain and India and between Muslims and Hindus was the context for the play, which is around an hour long, however, as Tyabji confirmed in the after show discussion at Malvern Cube last Sunday evening, The theme of division and extreme Nationalist identity is one that is revealing itself all over the world at this time. An enlightening audio clip from Prime Minister Modi, in which he describes how to “de-Islamify” parts of India was, as the post show discussion highlighted, none other than a 21st century form of Eugenics, or “Fascist Science” as Tyabji coined it. Jo Tyabji challenges the audience to examine their own prejudices and stereotypes and suggests that populist leaders are skewing our real identity as human beings.

Bernadette Kearney