Thursday, 12 May 2005
I got up early, got my head together, packed a rucksack full of stuff, some of it I needed, some of it I didn't and ran to school...arriving in a sweaty angry heap in the rehearsal room. Then the real pain began.
'Human Shrapnel' is a play I've written in partnership with a number of war veterans and one young man still fighting in Iraq. It tells the story of a man who joined the army to escape the hell he grew up in and finds himself discharged back into the hell he was running away from but this time he's been trained to kill and seen and done some terrible things.
It's about the circle of violence some young men are trapped in, about how we take soldiers for granted as they lay down their lives for causes they don't believe in, about a young man, ex-soldier, ex-human, trying to exist, trying to keep his head above water, drowning in the deadening sense of his own life.
It's not an easy piece to perform but I got through it four times today. It was like paint stripping my heart. I'll leave you with another excerpt:
It takes a lot of effort to wear down these little people's souls. It takes time to break them in. So the kids wait, drinking pop from plastic bottles with bendy straws, sharing a bag of crisps. Waiting for mum and dad to stop drinking and to start fighting, then at least they'll know that they're there.