Hidden in the wheel arch of a plane from Dubai, a stowaway falls to his death in the car park of a DIY superstore. The fall is witnessed by Andy (Steven Rae), an event that makes his own recently disrupted life begin to unravel – and when a passenger on the plane, Lisa (Hannah Donaldson), a crime writer returning from a prestigious literary festival, reads about the incident, she feels compelled to try and find out about the dead man – who was he and what brought him to such a horrible end? But even when she returns to Dubai to investigate, she finds that nobody wants to give her any answers.
The four actors that comprise Analogue Theatre’s production present a whole series of intertwined stories which serve to flesh out the tale, but also demonstrate how close proximity to a tragedy intensifies the situation. In a series of cleverly constructed flashbacks we find out more about the dead man, seeing him as a child in India with his sister and how his attempts to better his own life lead him into the construction industry in Dubai, working on glittering high rises for the super-rich, whilst being paid slave wages and made to work around the clock. Eventually his only hope of a better future is to try and escape from the awful world into which he has unwittingly blundered.
This is a sharp and sinewy story, one that delivers more questions that it offers answers for. It’s a prescient tale and one that I would highly recommend. An after-show discussion with two of the actors and some lecturers from Manchester University also benefited from a guest spot by Gulwali Passarlay whose book The Lightless Sky is based around his own experiences as a 12 year old refugee fleeing from from Afghanistan.
Stowaway concludes tonight (7th May) at Home, Manchester, before moving on for a single performance at The Civic, Barnsely on the 12th. If you’re able to catch a performance, please do: you’ll be moved, informed and riveted by what you see onstage.