First Night: Tragedy turned into potent drama
The Colour of Justice, Tricycle Theatre, London
Wednesday 13 January 1999
Scrupulously directed by Nicolas Kent from edited transcripts by Richard Norton-Taylor, The Colour of Justice is an enormously potent staged re-enactment of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry.
The piece is in the noble tradition of the Tricycle Theatre's similar stagings of the "Arms to Iraq" hearing and the Nuremberg Trials. But where the cockeyed Alice Through the Looking Glass logic of the government ministers in the former provoked outraged laughter, the parade of grim- faced, edgy police witnesses here, with their repeated refrain of "I can't remember" and their convenient, seemingly institutional tendency to mislay things ("I still have the clipboard but I no longer have the notes") produces snorts of wan, sickened incredulity.
This is theatre as an image of society confronting itself.
Of course, it is important to guard against any premature, more-liberal- than-thou self congratulation just because one has participated in an act of collective indignation. Indeed, the witness who moved me the most and gave me most food for thought was the Irish Catholic, Conor Taafe (beautifully by Tim Woodward). An evidently simple man, he went to help Stephen Lawrence as he lay bleeding at the bus stop. But he was also ready to admit in court that his initial impulse was to suspect it was a trick that would lead to violence because the young men were black.
He can confess to the reflex racism that even the most liberal whites can feel at certain moments. There lies an important lesson for us all.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
- 5 Rashida Jones speaks out against male-centric porn saying 'women should have sex and feel good about it'
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...
Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...