he Fear of Breathing is nothing if not daring. Staged recently at London’s Finborough Theatre, it takes verbatim reports from Syria and turns them into an urgent, artistic, thoughtful play.It is the product of reports garnered by the BBC’s Paul Wood, The Daily Telegraph’s Ruth Sherlock, and theatre director, Zoe Lafferty.
The material is cut and merged into a narrative that plots both the characters’ journeys, and that of the revolutionary movement in Syria, along with its descent into chaos. Lafferty has handled the material sensitively, for example deftly introducing the concept that protestors are being shot before mentioning the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and introducing characters as peaceful individuals who gradually begin to talk of arming.
Lafferty, speaking to NOW Extra, admitted being daunted by the task, but felt “if you’re going to take a risk on anything, this is the kind of material to do it on.” Having personally gathered at least part of the material – spending seven weeks traveling to Syria covertly – she felt a profound responsibility to take back to Britain what had been confided in her.
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