Edinburgh – bin Laden the one man show

Our history is littered with powerful people who have stood up for what they believed in, and not stopped until they achieved their aims.  We remember these people in different ways.  The often quoted ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ is misleading.  As Ronald Reagan said in 1986 ‘Freedom fighters struggle to liberate their citizens from oppression and to establish a form of government that reflects the will of the people.  Terrorists intentionally kill or maim unarmed civilians.’  

Knaïve Theatre brings a tale of one of the most notorious figures of recent times to the stage.  Sam Redway plays Osama bin Laden as a motivational speaker promoting his new book, outlining the principles that have shaped his thinking.  As we enter the room he is serving tea, well dressed, relaxed.  The theme underpinning the play is that he has been ‘successful’ and is now doing the speaking circuit.  Many of our recent leaders have ended up exactly here, by different routes.

It’s an ambitious, brave and potent play that treads a fine line on a tricky subject.  Sam takes us through bin Laden’s life, outlining his fight against the Russians in Afghanistan, his family life and breaking of ties with Saudi Arabia, and his battles against US forces in Mogadishu.  At what point exactly does he step over the line and become a terrorist?  It is up to us, the audience, to reflect on.

What would we do to protect our country and those we love? asks the performer.  It’s a very thought provoking play that is ultimately not just about Osama bin Laden, but our leaders today and ourselves.  How far would we go faced with similar decisions?  A great piece of political theatre.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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