Every night on the news there’s literally always some sort of massively catastrophic end-of-the-world shit going down… And I always wonder ‘how would I cope, if that happened to me?’
Transferring after a sell-out, award-nominated run at Theatre503, Stuart Slade’s BU21 follows six Londoners in the aftermath of a fictitious terrorist attack. In turn terrifying, inspiring, brutal, heart-breaking and hilarious, this is verbatim theatre from the very near future.
A beautiful sunny morning in London, planes leaving vapour trails across a cloudless sky. Then a sudden flash of light and, for thousands of people across the capital, everything changes forever. Here, six survivors come together in a support group to tell their stories – what they witnessed on the day and how this has affected their lives.
Based on real testimonies gathered from a variety of terrorist incidents including the 7/7 bombings, 9/11, the Paris attacks and the 2013 Westgate shopping mall attack, Slade’s BU21 is terrifyingly credible.
When did you ever see a terror-plot rom-com? BU21 dares you to laugh – because if you can’t laugh, right, the terrorists have won. Haven’t they? … What a daring feat of writing this is – a theatrical joyride that gives formal logic the finger (What’s On Stage).
Writer Stuart Slade says, Terrorism is an inescapable part of the reality of life today, especially if you live in a capital city. In London, in particular, it’s not a question of if there’ll be another attack – but of when, and how bad. BU21 is my attempt to understand how people cope with, and potentially overcome, traumatic events in their lives. Based on exhaustive research from a range of terrorist events, it’s a play that faces the darkest of tragedies square in the face, but also leaves room for optimism and hope.
Stuart is the Creative Director of a film production company specialising in documentary films and digital media about Disaster Response. As such he has produced films in places such as Gaza, South Sudan, Haiti, and Nepal.
With its disquieting honesty, Slade’s play could not be more topical, looking at the shadow of terrorism that overhangs our everyday lives.
BU21 plays at the Trafalgar Studios 4th January – Saturday 18th February 2017
Photo: David Monteith-Hodge