Today (Wednesday 8th August, 2018) marks the 30th anniversary of the 1988 student uprising against the military dictatorship in Burma (now Myanmar), and Guy Slater in association with Tara Arts is proud to announce the casting for its World Premiere production of Eastern Star, to be performed at Tara Theatre from 11th – 29th September.
The production stars David Yip (The Chinese Detective) and Michael Lumsden (The Archers), with Julie Cheung-Inhin and Patrick Pearson.
Eastern Star is based on the true story of the relationship between a BBC World Service journalist, Christopher Gunness (Michael Lumsden) and a Burmese human rights lawyer, U Nay Min (David Yip), with the latter acting as the ‘architect’ of the revolution, and the former serving as its ‘voice’.
After the revolution was brutally suppressed Chris went on to comparative fame and fortune (he is currently director of communications with UN in the Middle East) while U Nay Min was arrested, imprisoned and tortured. Set around their fraught and painful reunion 25 years after the revolution, Eastern Star examines the responsibility of global news corporations towards their sources, touching on the theme of news manipulation and fake news. The piece shines a light on what happens when a journalist walks away from the subject of their story. At its heart, the play questions who writes history – the activist or the journalist?
To mark the anniversary, the cast met for lunch with Christopher Gunness (the journalist on whom the true story is based) at a Burmese restaurant, The Mandalay Golden Myanmar, where they were able to talk to Christopher about his experiences during the student uprising (Imagery in link above).
Eastern Star is written and directed by Guy Slater, who was struck by Chris’ story after hearing him speak at a fund-raising event, and with his permission set about adapting this fascinating story for the stage. Guy has had a long and successful career in theatre and television. He ran the Horseshoe Theatre Company, mainly operating out of the Haymarket Theatre, for seven years. He has directed plays in many parts of the world – London, California, Edinburgh, New York and India. Actors he has worked with include Derek Jacobi, Gwen Watford, Timothy West, Paul Scofield, Zoe Wanamaker, Wendy Hillier, George Cole and David Morrissey. He has also written many plays for radio and television.