Based upon true events that happened a few years ago and were briefly in the papers in Scotland and England, this performance derives from interviews with the daughter and the two parents who were at the centre of the story. Most of the events recounted here take place in Glasgow and focus on the romance and marriage of a man and woman from two very different backgrounds and cultures. The reason they later made the papers was because of the apparent ‘abduction’ of the daughter from Scotland to an Islamic country against the wishes of her non-Muslim mother.
Using a domestic-looking set with western and eastern décor creating an impression of two different interiors, a surround of astroturf, and a backdrop of cloth printed with newsprint, the real power of this performance lies not in how it looks or what happens onstage, but the raw emotion of the mother’s testimonial and the extraordinary performance of the lead actress. She recounts the tale of a life from a harsh background, meeting a man of Asian heritage, their marriage and her efforts to be accepted into a very different culture. Ultimately this attempt is framed as a tragedy in this very balanced play, created by Tamasha through interviews with the family sharing their experiences in their own words. Islam is regarded by most Muslims as a faith, not a culture or a lifestyle, and this woman’s love for her children and her efforts to be accepted by the family and the Islamic community run aground against the strict edicts of conformity that gives her man too much power over her and her children.
The verbatim accounts of the man and the daughter are carefully intermingled into the performance and every side of the story explored. The human story of a family in crisis is palpable, as all sides try to do their best in a difficult situation, the parents trying to figure out what is best for the children and how to adapt to the changing circumstances of the family breakup. This is a moving and very well composed play about a story that should never have made it into the papers, but one that is worth hearing nevertheless.