Championed by creative producer Jeremy Goldstein, the phrase “truth to power” provides a framework for an ongoing series of performances about confronting who or what has control over you. Joined on stage and by video call by a group of eight young people, Goldstein et al. open up about their personal history and innermost thoughts regarding oppression and identity in the 21st century.
The first half of the show focuses upon Goldstein’s father Mick and his lifelong friendship with the ‘Hackney Gang’ – the poet Henry Woolf and esteemed playwright Harold Pinter. But while Goldstein’s segment deals with his father’s frustrated desire to be a writer – the only one of the trio to not pursue a creative passion he had an affinity with, plus living in the shadow of his peers – it is Goldstein’s own relationship with his own father that provides the emotional grist of the evening, a reminder of the importance of reconciliation and the ‘petty’ things that impede such actions.
While not as long as Goldstein’s candid ‘trip down memory lane’, the individual regional contributions (on this occasion from Rotherham) to the second half of the evening give a flavour of the sort of things that young people in the UK face and are concerned about. Individual attitudes towards autism, racism, transphobia and obsessive compulsive disorders are explored, as well as negative attitudes that are systemic in nature.
Of all the individual contributions to the evening, it was perhaps the words of Jacob Rhodes who had one of the most profound insights. Most of the things that have power over us – people, friends, family, etc – are all external forces. But sometimes they aren’t our most severest critics… “Would you be friends with someone who speaks to you like you speak to yourself?”
© Michael Davis 2022
Truth To Power Café is an internationally acclaimed performance event – already performed more than 40 times in six countries – and featuring more than 400 participants, many of whom have never been on stage before. After its recent showcase at the Rotherham Civic Theatre (24th and 25th February), it will be performed again at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield on 19th March and at Stanley Arts, South Norwood in London on 27th March.