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Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre - Arcola Theatre (Review)

Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre. Photo by Nick Rutter

Review by Shanna Schreuder

DEVASTATING yet necessary viewing, Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre by Anders Lustgarten casts a spotlight on the Roboski massacre.

In fact, this new play proves to be more than just a hard-hitting reminder of the airstrike on the Turkish-Iraqi border in which 34 Kurdish civilians were killed on the eve of December 28, 2011; it’s a vehicle for questioning the implications drones have on the ‘just war’ tradition by showing us the day-to-day dealings of everyone involved in this disturbing real-life event.

We learn personal details about the victims, such as their names, ages, hopes and dreams, but also that the oblivious drone technicians want to grow tomatoes; the commercially-savvy arms dealer believes they’re “essential to eventual peace”; and the award-winning columnist thinks that the recent attack didn’t go far enough in eliminating the terrorist treat.

The production is passionately performed by the six cast members who seamlessly swapped between characters. Karina Fernandez adds a controlled fire to all three of the roles she slips in and out of; Josef Altin and Aslam Percival Husain are compulsive viewing as the two main massacre victims, David Kirkbride and Ryan Wichert adeptly move from one extreme to the next, while Tuncay Akpinar as Ferhat is anguish and pain throughout.

Boasting compelling writing and outstanding acting, Shrapnel 34 adds to the Arcola Theatre’s already well-established reputation for staging standout new plays that deal with global issues.

Shrapnel: 34 Fragments of a Massacre is currently booking at the Arcola Theatre until Thursday, April 2, 2015.

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Photo by Nick Rutter