The Container: A Clash of Humanities

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The Container is a play written by Clare Bayley. It tells a story about 5 asylum-seekers hiding in the container of a truck and their conflicts on the way to England. It’s a great story that discusses a lot of relevant social and political issues. The production was captured by Digital Theatre Plus.

The title of the play, as well as the author and the year of production

Written by: Yushan Guo

There are 6 characters in total in this production. 1 is the “middleman” while the other 5 are asylum-seekers. The entire plot takes place in a dark, small, and confined space. At first glance, it felt sort of similar to some of the movies I saw, such as Cube or Saw, but with more tensions between the characters and the set.

Whether watching the production live or through mediation truly made a difference for me. For this one, although the online version of the production was already very captivating and engaging, I still felt I could immerse into this production easier if I watched this live since there would be much less distractive factors. However, watching it through mediation also made something easier for me, especially for this production: the English subtitles. Many characters in this production had heavy accents, and it was much easier to watch it with subtitles.

A screenshot of the production

The elements of designs for this production is very simple but also creative. Overall, it can be seen that the elements of designs were served to make the production as realistic as possible. For example, the light design of the production came from the flashlights held by the actors as well as the light through the door slot of the container. The sound design incorporated various noises you’d expected to hear on a highway. In general, the elements of design made this production natural and realistic.

In general, I enjoyed the story the production told. It did not attempt to go to a “deep” level to talk about some abstract, complicated, philosophical questions, but it reflected a lot of relevant social and political issues, such as issues related to illegal immigrants and refugees, women’s rights, the differences in social classes, and so on. The 5 characters had very different social backgrounds and personalities. The story pointed out their differences, but also reflected the universality in their humanities: their selfishness, their cravings for future and a better life, as well as the kindness that still exists to different extents.

The reviews of this production

My favorite part of the production is the open ending that ended with the line “Do you think we have arrived?” This left the audiences a lot of “spaces” for their thoughts and interpretations. And it also reflected the high uncertainties in the future of these characters, no matter if they have successfully arrived in England or not.

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