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A CurtainUp London Review
Now how useful is it for us to know all this? Will it make the lives of those people working on the coffee plantation any better knowing that we have a guilty conscience about drinking the coffee or do we all rush off and buy Fair Trade Coffee and congratulate ourselves on our moral sensitivity? Wallace Shawn knows there are no answers.
A moral story. Recently a UK television programme exposed the story of child workers in India behind clothing manufacture for a large British chain store which sells cheap clothing. These children were sewing sequins and buttons on mass produced T-shirts. The result of the public outrage at the child labour was that the Dublin based chain dropped the manufacturers in India. Result - the families dependent on this income, a pittance for sewing decorations on cheap Western T-shirts, lost their only livelihood. What should a responsible employer have done? Carry on employing the Indian families but also provide a school for them? Paid more for the goods and raised the prices of cheap clothing here? Who knows?
The stage is bare. Just a chair and a water fountain. No carpet here made by children in the Third World.
Whatever conversation and discussion The Fever stimulates, it is not a dramatic work. It is a reading of a guilt trip diatribe by an affluent American and I do not understand why it has been staged in London three times in the last 18 years. I don't have an answer as to what we should do. I even think that ecological issues have overtaken world poverty as probably the most urgent we have to address. This exercise in self flagellation may raise awareness but does it have the power to make a difference?
Go here for another eviews of The Fever
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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