THE BURMA PLAY tells the backstory of Burma’s bloody struggle for independence from the British colonial era, of the coming to power of the dictator Ne Win in 1962, of the terrible massacres of 1988, of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy’s landslide victory in 1990, and the unravelling of hope as this vote for democracy was crushed by the military dictatorship.
The play was inspired by a letter-writing campaign in 1996 by Amnesty International on behalf of two comedians, U Par Par Lay and U Lu Zaw of The Moustache Brothers of Mandalay, put in jail for telling jokes about the dictators.
The burma play is a sharp, clear and vivid way into the complicated back story of Burma/Myanmar.
It has a long track record of performances for Amnesty groups, conferences, universities and high schools, theatres and arts centres, at the Edinburgh fringe festival, for MPs at Westminster, and at the Burmese community in London's Thingyan festival.
The play highlights the U.K.’s special connection with Burma. It has been part of celebrations in Edinburgh and Sheffield when the freedom of these cities was granted to Burmese democracy leader and Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in her absence.
In lively post-show discussions Burmese people and activists bear witness to their own experience – of the flight from brutal repression, of life in refugee camps. Others say frankly – before we knew nothing: now, we do. The production is a call to action, encouraging people to get involved withAmnesty International and The Burma Campaign UK, to donate funds, and to lobby their MPs.
... a superb melding of the talents of a writer, performers and director who obviously believe in what they are doing to create a moving and powerful evening of theatre. Author Pam Sandiford has combined scholarly research and humanitarian passion with an awesome gift for putting words into mouths to unfold her story.
The play, constantly updated, communicated a history of Burma from British colonisation to the present. David Bowen, sensitive, vulnerable and versatile, and Cilla Baynes, optimistic, inscrutable and grounded, were the two superb performers who seamlessly took on many roles - Evening Mail, Cumbria
Sax • Flute • Piano • Vocals