“Finally, for the first time, we are being seen.” In this incredibly powerful and important piece of verbatim theatre, LUNG platforms the voices of the most under-represented members of society as it tells the true story of the Focus E15 Campaign.
An accomplished and moving piece of drama that will stay with you as you walk out of the theatre
Handed eviction notices by their social housing unit, facing skyrocketing private rental rates and forced relocation out of London, 29 single mothers join forces to campaign for their rights. Documenting these real events, E15 is constructed from interviews with charity workers, civil servants, politicians and, of course, the E15 mums themselves. A fantastic ensemble cast assume multiple roles in a performance that is loud, challenging and relentlessly sincere.
Alternating between static monologue delivery and effective, understated choreography, the show’s visual simplicity adds to its emotive power. Moments of humour punctuate the action, giving the show a balanced tone; a demonstration of the ‘eye-brow training’ that council workers receive is especially funny.
The show features an extremely high level of talent in its five actors who are all magnetic as they tell their stories. Special mention must go to Helen Monks who was standing in for Francesca Knight for this particular performance - she was utterly captivating as Sam.
As you walk into the performance space which is plastered in banners and slogans, a protest is in full swing: “Social housing not social cleansing!”. Flyers are given out to the audience and petitions are handed round.
Throughout E15 the audience is continually reminded of the fact that the issues addressed are not confined to the stage, they will not cease to exist when we walk out of the theatre. We are forced to recognise that the characters onstage here actually represent real people whose lives have been changed by these events. Indeed, the show’s effective power is such that during this particular performance a member of the audience was moved to share his own experience of being homeless.
Ultimately E15 is as much a call to arms as a documentary endeavour. It is an accomplished and moving piece of drama that will stay with you as you walk out of the theatre and perhaps (hopefully) even stimulate you to engage with the real-life issues upon which it is training the spotlight. They leave the audience with a clear instruction: “Do something!”.