Currently under consideration
Winter 2015 - 2016
I live in Tower Hamlets where a young Bangladeshi woman of independent mind is planning to broadcast a manifesto against the slave labor in the East that fuels the consumer culture of the West.
Inspired by a remarkable hoax she will fake her disappearance and subsequent enlistment as a Jihadi Bride in order to get media attention and thus set the stage for her sensational self-declaration as a warrior against capitalism.
Last year she won a scholarship to university where she made friends with a lively and unlikely clique of independently-minded students of very different backgrounds and dispositions than her own. These people who would have appeared weird to her not long ago now feel real. And all of this at a time when revolutionary iconoclasts, Naomi Klein and Russell Banks, are every young dissident’s Pop-Prophets and broadcasters of The Trews.
Nomi remains haunted by a disquieting moment a year before when she was watching a television report of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in the country where she had lived with her family until she was seven years old. She remembered her schoolmates who might well have been amongst the victims, as she might so easily have been herself. She could neither make sense of it nor shake it off. Now, a year later, she is reminded of it all over again with even more force than before “I had a mind of my own.”
The life that she had been so lucky to live in London now pales and appalls her alongside the loss of lives that she had left behind. And it is this puzzle, one that she could not untangle, let alone share with others, that is now slipping into context under the present influences that are lending meaning to all that she had ever thought and felt and is now absorbing. There is no room for disturbance in Nomi’s onslaught of enlightenment. Truth rules.
Nomi & Company
One of Nomi’s new-found friends is slumming it in a commune lodged in an abandoned warehouse in Limehouse. Amongst the squatters are Sophie & Sam who are scraping together a living with their Peach & Judy pub performance while they wait for their Troop to get off the ground.
It is in a janitor’s closet off the loft of their tribal squat that Nomi is left to set up her computer, camera and Green Screen and immerse herself in virtually creating her social media postings of her posting on the Syrian front.
In that loft and, on sunny days, upon a garage roof below, The Troopers meet, more or less, to develop a repertoire for their first big gig, set in a couple of weeks at a space they have rented UPSTAIRS at The Urban Bar.
Since their project got born, individuality has eclipsed collectivity, and creativity been eclipsed by conflict. Every time they take another crack at a script, a satire, a stunt, sketch, skip, strip or skit they have to start over from scratch – which is usually cause for a clash in itself. They are definitely Up Shit Creek without a paddle.
Meanwhile, Nomi is reaping the media attention she sought as the brilliant delinquent dispatching treasonable propaganda to Muslim youngsters back home. And careless as she has become to consequences, she is oblivious to the attention the police are beginning to direct towards her escapade. As she hits the headlines, the moment for her self-exposé draws close - and so does Scotland Yard. Nothing would suit them better than to catch her in the act and nip her manifesto in the bud. She flees just as they swoop, hands her manuscript to the girls with strict instructions to stash it but leaves all the evidence of her hoax and all the instruments of self-declaration behind. This time she disappears for real. Nobody wants her to be found. Least of all herself.
A swat squad unceremoniously closes down the squat and sends the residents, including Sam and Sophie, packing. And that’s the end of that.
Or so it should have been. Except our show closes on The Troopers ‘ opening show at Wilton’s Music Hall for the first and last performance of Nomi’s Story.
Yesterday I a friend sent me this critique:
…I think you might need to distill your idea down to its very simple core.
Sometimes it’s better to get a very simple story line
and allow room for the actors to add in their own detail
and the audience room for interpretation.
I've mulled over these thoughts and although it might not be exactly what my friend had in mind it has got me thinking of Nomi as a one-woman show. I don't think that could qualify as a feature film, but it could work as a 60 minute theatre piece or a 30 minute film in which her closet/dark-room fills the stage with it's techno-conjuring box and green screen and her final flight from the swat squad clambering up the stairs and her climb to survival onto the roof - but not before casting a sheaf of copies of the manuscript for her manifesto into the audience.