What to do…with my anger at events in the world? What to do with my sorrow and sadness? What to do with my frustration at politicians? What to do with the fury I feel towards the arms manufacturers who will be rubbing their hands in glee (though trying to remember not to do so in public)? What to do with the voice inside me that wants to shout at the instigators of conflicts, this conflict and all conflicts in the world right now: ‘Have you forgotten the climate crisis? Or do you simply not care?’
Our thoughts are with those, particularly the innocent, caught up in this and all conflicts. There are many small things we can or could do. Donations, financial or otherwise. Prayers, vigils, protests. Providing refuge. And much more. But for myself, the main thing I have decided, and this decision was taken weeks ago, before any actual invasion of Ukraine seemed likely, is to take my play THE MISTAKE – about Hiroshima and the first atomic bomb – to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year. This is a risk for all kinds of reasons, but if not now, then when? The subject matter has always seemed of the utmost importance. But how could I know that in these grim times it would seem even more urgent and relevant?
So this will be my modest contribution to peace, justice and understanding in the world. Next year I plan to take the play round the country more widely and get it into schools.
There are two of us performing in the play. I will portray numerous people involved in events preceding the dropping of the bomb – in particular, one of the scientists involved, Leo Szilard, who did all he could to stop the bomb being deployed and subsequently worked for peace and disarmament. And an English-speaking female Japanese performer will portray a young woman who survives the blast and then goes in search of her parents in the devastated city. Some verbatim testimonies are used in the play.
If you know of anyone going to the Festival this August or have any friends or family there or nearby we would greatly welcome their support. The play runs from Aug 5-27 (not 14th) at Venue 36, the Space on North Bridge, Edinburgh, at 10.45 in the morning. There will also be performances in London at some point which I will let you know about. Should anyone wish to contribute something, however small, to our crowd-funding for this non-profit making venture, it would be most gratefully received – but with so many other demands on people’s pockets, I don’t expect it.
The play’s title refers to the inscription on the memorial to the victims of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima Peace Park. ‘Rest in peace, for the mistake will not be repeated.’ We have to do whatever we can, in whatever way we can, to ensure that the mistake will indeed NOT be repeated.