White Other is the working title of Emilia’s new research and development project shining a light on the experiences of economic migrants in the UK and questions the efficacy of statutory monitoring criteria in classifying social groups.
The first stage of the project explored themes of “white otherness” in Pygmalion by G.B. Shaw. In 2019, we staged the original play gathering feedback from audiences and reviewers. Invited guest Bonnie Greer, playwright and migrant herself, took part to a Q&A to help us with the research. In 1912, Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl training to improve her English and her social standing, bears many similarities with today’s economic migrants, especially English second language speakers. Eliza occupies the grey area between “underprivileged” , today officially labelled as BAME – anyone from “Black and Ethnic Minority background”, and the “privileged” box-ticking “White”. Ultimately, she lives in an unrecognised social space facing a unique sets of challenges. In the end, she never really fits any label or social category.
The research on Pygmalion led to the development of a new absurdist play written by Emilia Teglia and set in today’s Britain. Our contemporary “Eliza” is an English-second language speaker from a European country. Like many, she’s come here to find her fortune and leave the bleakness of a hopeless future behind.
Watch this trailer from the rehearsed reading of the work in progress.
For information about bringing White Other to your venue please email Chas De Swiet, producer, on [email protected]
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