Acre and Change

An Acre and Change takes a fresh look at the dispute over land distribution. It aims to query why people should fight to call land their own. In this long struggle for people to get their share, personal interests get led astray by confused causes and the intervention of the State in personal affairs makes the issue almost impossible to resolve. The script takes a perspective of the perpetual conflict that is much closer to home. The most prevalent themes of the Northern Ireland conflict are translated to a hypothetical Britain that has been conquered by France. After many years of French-Anglia we see a cross section of a society in which people struggle for-and-against the cause of independence. The confused and shallow nature of national identity is attacked alongside the personal motivations of the terrorists in prejudiced communities. Cambridge is a dangerous place to be as it is torn apart by sectarian violence. Inevitably it is the community itself that suffers at the hands of the many characters struggling for their different causes.The show doesn’t offer any original ideas to the question of land redistribution. Instead that theme remains a side note to the gimmick that aims to make a British audience empathise with the troubles in Northern Ireland. The audience is allowed to reconsider its position, changing their perspective from one of the aggressor, to the defender of local interests. At times the acting can be too melodramatic which detracts from the serious themes of the production. It’s a play of high and intense personal emotions but if the characters are made unconvincing by over-acting, then the audience cannot empathise with the characters that are supposed to represent us, meaning the main thrust of the play is damaged. The show is wonderful for nuances in the similarities that have been drawn between the real and hypothetical scenarios. In a world where the IRA becomes the BNP and the French are chucked out of local pubs, the script does everything to create a believable scenario. It goes as far as creating a fake history where the battle of Trafalgar was lost, placing the audience as part of the conflict very effectively. The personal matters of each character are also well thought out and they fit into the larger problems of a harsh world. This show has used a simple gimmick with the potential to great effect in order to take on matters of wide and personal interest.

Reviews by Theo Barnes

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The Blurb

A speculative fiction that encourages people to take a fresh perspective on the Troubles of Northern Ireland, by taking the conflict and transplanting it to a hypothetical military-occupied 'French Anglia'.

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