Apple Theatre

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Peter Avis on Apple Theatre

Morning Star May 1969

 

Apple Theatre, under the aegis of the Beatles’ organisation, is creating some of the most exciting experimental theatre of today.

Recently, in the Brighton Combination theatre space, the company presented ‘Apart’, a performance around apartheid in South Africa.

There were no costumes, no décor apart from that created by the lighting. But through the dramatic employment of documentary material, police interrogations, banning orders, the pass laws, the company brought the insidious reality of racial discrimination in to the experience of every member of the audience.

You could not escape the meaning of apartheid as you had your shoes polished with frenzied servitude by a member of the cast. Or as an accusing voice suddenly asked you, you – individually: ‘Do you consider yourself white?’

‘Open discussion is an important part of the event says Barry Edwards. ‘If the audience’s decision to take part is irrelevant, then participation is meaningless. In this show, they must take part.’

‘We want to know what they think, for one thing. Manipulation, persuasion, terror, suppression – all are commonplace enough in today’s world. We talk about them, we experience them – perhaps.’

The strength of Apple Theatre derives from the intense respect all in the company have both for the truth of their material and for the intelligence of their audience.

The next Apple production is ‘Czech 68’, which the group sees as a ‘theatre which all humanity can understand in simple human terms’. It will be presented at the Brighton Festival.