After a year making a documentary and volunteering on the front-line of the European refugee crisis, critically acclaimed fringe theatre company Craft Theatre returns to London this summer with Sam Shepard’s The God of Hell, the first piece in a 12 month season of four shows.
The setting is a Wisconsin dairy farm, where the heifer-breeding Frank and Emma live in rustic isolation. But their peace has been shattered by Graig Haynes, a radioactive refugee from a plutonium-producing establishment. While he hides in the basement, a supposed salesman of patriotic baubles named Welch turns up in hot pursuit. What follows is a process of intimidation in which Welch not only gets his man, but terrorises the innocent mid-Westerners.
Director Rocky Rodriguez, Jr. says: “Shepard says the piece is “a take-off on Republican fascism”. It is eerie, it is satire, and it is goofy at times. It premiered in 2005, in response to the human rights abuses/justified experimentation revealed from declassified ‘plutonium files’ in which the US government injected/fed/and induced plutonium on unsuspecting citizens including the disabled, the pregnant, and the testicles of convicts, all for the creation of fancy nuclear developments. The piece was viewed as a touch too far-fetched, but people didn’t really know about these experiments at the time. With the rise of fake news, profit-seeking immigration detention centres, ICE, the far right in the USA/Europe and Trump-ism, climate denialism, undeclared war, prioritising the corporation over the citizen, society is heading towards the same place that they used to justify the plutonium experiments. All of a sudden Shepard’s satire demands real reflection.” Craft Theatre actors have previous experience including the RSC, ENO, Royal Court, and many major motion pictures.
“Mr Shepard’s gift for finding deadpan surrealism in bucolic speech (is) as hilarious as it is sobering” The New York Times on The God of Hell
Craft Theatre are producing a full season of 4 shows over the next 12 months across multiple London fringe venues, including The God of Hell.
Other pieces will include: The Nazi Comparison – devised with excerpts from Hanns Johst’s Schlageter (one of the few “Nazi” plays) juxtaposed with contemporary political rhetoric; and His Name Was Samir Nasrallah – devised from the story of Rachel Corrie, and Craft Theatre’s first-hand experience on the front line of the European Refugee Crisis.