August 23, 2008

Review On Human Folly

By Roger Cox



WISE people the Quakers. They got to grips with the concept of equality long before the rest of Western society, they've always prided themselves on their tolerance of other religions, and given the state of the world today you can't help feeling they might have a point with the whole pacifism thing.

This new play by Mike Casey and Arthur Pritchard, two former drama lecturers from Yorkshire, sets out to draw parallels between 18th-century attitudes to the slave trade and contemporary attitudes to global warming. That might sound like a somewhat tenuous link, but their logic turns out to be very sound indeed.

By focusing on the true story of the radical American Quaker John Woolman, who walked from London to York in 1772, talking some anti- slavery sense into the Quakers of Great Britain as he went, and then mixing in scenes in which two modern-day Yorkshiremen chew over the monumental problems presented by man-made climate change, the duo demonstrate that, then as now, we all have an inherent sense of right and wrong yet we often choose to ignore it.

The acting could perhaps be a little tighter, but there's something deeply satisfying about the rationality and sagacity of the script. Casey and Pritchard are accepting bookings for a tour to Quaker meetings in England during the winter. Perhaps groups of other religious persuasions - or none - might consider inviting them to perform as well.

Until today, 4:30pm

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