An award-winning play about young love in the midst of Middle Eastern conflicts is coming to a South Tyneside theatre.
The Collector is the first drama penned by Spitting Image head writer Henry Naylor and it appears at the Customs House in South Shields on Sunday as part of a nationwide tour.
The Fringe First Award-winner is set in Mazrat Prison, now under Allied command, and one of Saddam’s most notorious torture houses, where more than 10,000 people died. Nassir is a pro-Western local working at the prison translating for the American interrogators.
When he is recognised by Faisal, a new prisoner and psychotic supporter of the old regime, his life becomes a living hell.
Naylor, who is also known as one half of the comedy duo Parsons and Naylor and for writing Headcases, Dead Ringers and Alistair McGowan’s Big Impression, wrote The Collector after visiting Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan in 2003.
He said: “It all started when I was researching a programme I was doing for the BBC in 2001. I was writing for a radio show about the same time the war was on in Afghanistan. Obviously it’s hard to make that subject funny so I was watching the media intensely for any angles that I could use to write jokes.”
While watching the news, Naylor spotted his former flatmate, who was working as a camera man.
“I got in touch with him after and told him about what I was writing,” he added. “I said that I wanted to get my facts straight and get past the media’s representation of events. So he helped me organise things and I went out and spent 10 days in Afghanistan. It completely changed my life. Up until that point I had been a satirical writer sat at my desk at home sneering about events on the news. Actually living in a news event first hand transformed my writing.”
Tickets for the 7.30pm show cost £14 with a £13 concession. To book, go to www.customshouse.co.uk or call 0191 454 1234.