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Building the Wall

Building the Wall

Company of Ten production impeaches President Trump

An extraordinarily relevant play for now, Building the Wall, is coming to the Abbey Theatre stage courtesy of the Company of Ten.

Playwright Robert Schenkkan was on top form when he sat down to write Building the Wall back in 2016. Powered by his furious reaction to the deliberately incendiary rhetoric being thrown about at the time by presidential candidate Donald Trump, the work took just one week to complete.

“As the most expensive and dispiriting Presidential campaign in recent memory came to a close, I sat down and, in a white-hot fury, wrote this play,” Schenkkan later said.

He may not be a familiar name, but he is a Pulitzer prizewinner for The Kentucky Cycle. His screenplays, including Hacksaw Ridge and The Quiet American, have been nominated for Oscars, BAFTAs and Emmys.

Building the Wall is set in 2019 and imagines what might be the consequences of Trump’s rabble-rousing utterances on immigration and border security, with their naked appeals to racism, nativism and violence.

The play sees a wall built on the US border with Mexico, President Trump impeached, and Texan Rick in prison awaiting sentence for a heinous crime he committed while in charge of an over-crowded private detention centre. Rick grants just one interview to Gloria, an African American history professor, in order to tell his side of the story. As the evidence unfolds, the truth is chillingly and inevitably exposed – or is it?

The Stage called the play ‘bold, bite-size, and unapologetically political, a binge-worthy, 80-minute box-set of a show.’ Variety said it was ‘a hot-off-the-laptop scorcher of a play…sure to provoke shock, awe and much talk’.

Actress Sarah Priddy takes the role of Gloria and says: “When I first read this play over a year ago I knew I wanted to be involved.  Knowing that Robert Schenkkan penned this play in 2016 as a speculative fiction before Trump was even elected, it is somewhat unnerving to compare the fiction to our current reality.

“The conversational confrontation between Gloria and Rick is compelling storytelling, as Gloria interviews Rick, a prison supervisor arrested and convicted for actions taken as a result of the government’s authoritarian policies.

“It’s been a challenging journey to bring this play to the stage during a global pandemic. Having said that, it’s been great working with the Company of Ten again, everyone in our small cast and crew bubble have been so professional and have brought some light to what at times have been emotional rehearsals.

“This dystopian drama is a frightening reflection on events that have been played out through history. With the imminent American elections and the growing sense of social and judicial crisis there, and with other nations under authoritarian rule and struggling for democracy, this play feels incredibly relevant for today,” Sarah adds.

Building the Wall is an uncomfortable and at times harrowing play to watch.

Strong language appropriate to the context may offend.

Performances will be streamed and take place in the Main Auditorium, suitably socially distanced, from Tuesday 13th – Saturday 17th  October 2020 at 8.00pm. To book tickets please go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk

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