Katy Galloway Productions and maatin announce the UK première of Duck by maatin, whose play Friday at the masjid has been shortlisted for the RSC’s new national playwriting competition 37 Plays, at Arcola Theatre.
The production opens on 29 June, with previews from 27 June, and runs until 15 July. Imy Wyatt Corner, associate artist at Arcola Theatre, directs this one-man show of a British Indian schoolboy as he attempts to reach dizzying heights of cricketing glory in his prestigious, elite school. To do so, he has to contend with the challenges of adolescence, the pressures of sporting competition, and come to terms with his identity in an environment that doesn’t cater for difference.
Duck is inspired by maatin’s own experiences attending a British public school. It was first developed as part of the Hampstead Theatre’s INSPIRE new writing programme with the support of Roxana Silbert and Davina Moss, and mentorship from acclaimed playwright Roy Williams.
Playwright maatin said today: “This play represents all my ambitions as a theatre-maker: to tell British Muslim stories, to reveal the multitudes of south Asian and Muslim identity, and to showcase the talents of those from minoritised identities in all areas of the creative process. Though this story is set in the past, its issues are ever-present – exploring how racism infects our most polite and prestigious institutions and setting the stage for two decades of societal hostility towards Muslims in Britain.”
It’s the summer of 2005, and Ismail – ‘Smiley’ to his schoolmates – is about to become the youngest-ever member of his elite public school’s First XI cricket team. A star player full of ambition and talent, he sets his sights on immortality – breaking the school batting record and getting his name into Wisden. But at the start of the season, new coach Mr. Eagles takes a particular dislike to him, for reasons Ismail can’t quite put his finger on. Desperate to prove himself, he runs into a patch of poor form at just the wrong time. Bad luck on the pitch leads to issues off it too, and Ismail finds that no one – friends, family, teammates – seems to get what he’s going through.
Set during England’s famous Ashes victory and the events of 7/7, Ismail discovers that cricket might not be able to take care of everything as it once did.