Following the critically acclaimed In the Night Time (Before The Sun Rises) at the Gate Theatre, Big Guns is an unsettling new play from Nina Segal, directed by Dan Hutton, Yard Artistic Associate and Barrel Organ founder.
Starring Debra Baker (Radiant Vermin) and Jessye Romeo (Martyr, Unicorn Theatre), Big Guns is a show that holds a mirror up to our relationship with contemporary violence: the feeling of it being dragged towards us. Unstoppably.
Big Guns is the prickling at the back of your neck, the faint taste of blood on your teeth, the could-be sounds of a strange figure in the semi-darkness. The YouTube clip you hope doesn’t load but can’t help watching. Privacy. Pornography. Flat-pack furniture. Big Guns is violence. Against others. Against ourselves. It’s paranoia. It’s a society living in fear. It’s the moment just – before.
Nina Segal comments, Since I started writing this play in 2014, the terrorism threat level for the UK has remained as ‘severe’. Political campaigns have been run – and won – on fear; on encouraging the belief that we are under attack. Our appetite for fictionalised violence – on TV, in the cinema – hasn’t waned; our appetite for real violence, streamed live through Facebook or on a grainy YouTube video, is still being negotiated. We’re statistically safer than we’ve ever been and yet often feel more under threat than ever. Big Guns is about the space between threat and violence, between the fictional and the real – and between looking at and looking away.
As a society we are deeply preoccupied with violence. We regularly engage with violent content in the media and online. Our unending fascination has extended to the rise of TV shows about criminal investigations and prison life; we have become a culture obsessed with violence as a form of entertainment. In this radical new play, Segal explores the moment just before something happens – something terrible or something totally mundane.
Big Guns plays at The Yard Theatre 21 March – 8 April 2017