I was always told that there are two subjects you shouldn’t bring up at a dinner party: religion and politics. Not because they’re uninteresting, but because they invite conflict and disagreement. Here in the west we like to think that we are tolerant and accommodating of other people’s beliefs (there’s always room for improvement…) but with religion and politics being such hot topics in the press at the moment, it’s no wonder that - although some of the population take no time in vocalising their views - many of us still tiptoe around the subject, treading on eggshells and trying our best to avoid confrontation.
Tackling the subject of fundamentalism vs tolerance head-on is the Unicorn Theatre and Actors Touring Company’s new co-production of ‘Martyr’ (written by Marius von Maybenburg and directed by Ramin Gray) about a teenager called Benjamin who has found God and a path to religious extremism (you may remember Actor’s Touring Company from their award winning production of ‘The Events’ at the Young Vic last year).
Benjamin’s school wishes to accommodate all faiths, but when will they recognise the threat that his religious belief has on their own liberal ethos? As Benjamin forces his views onto staff and fellow students alike, only one teacher is prepared to take a stand. How far is she willing to go and what will she risk to defend her own deeply-held convictions?
This is a play that considers how far we should go in accommodating another’s faith. When it is right to take a stand for our own opposing values?
The provocative ‘Martyr’ creates a space for an important and urgent conversation to be had, even if it does ruffle a few feathers at the dinner table.
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