Set in an alternate England, our satirical drama ‘Voice of Dissident’ captures the day a career politician comes face-to-face with a principled, passionate political prisoner. Over the course of a conversation he hopes to transform this dissident into a spokeswoman for the state in exchange for her freedom. Based on the battles between the prophet Jeremiah and the various kings he counseled and confronted, we see a ruler increasingly desperate to control the uncontrollable. Like Jeremiah, our dissident is a prophet of doom. Does she realize just how quickly her prophecy will become reality? I love the quips and dramatic tension of a ‘Frost Vs. Nixon’ face-off or a ‘12 Angry Men’ style confrontation where one party has seriously underestimated the other. In our story racism, sexism, colonialism emerge during this highly charged exchange culminating in a shocking, violent and ultimately poetic turn of events. There will be desperate phone calls, treason, tears and yes, there will be blood.
Simply put, Jeremiah is a heroic, tragic figure. We’ve injected some of his dynamic attributes into our prophet-prisoner. She’s an artist, an intuitionist, a wordsmith and like Jeremiah has a savvy political mind. Likewise we gave some of King Zedekiah’s qualities (and misfortunes) to our despotic politician. As well as the Biblical text of Jeremiah and Lamentations I’ve been reading ‘The Indomitable Prophet’ by R.E.O White, ‘The Hebrew Prophets – Visionaries of the Ancient World’ (edited by Lawrence Boadt) and ‘Prophets and Poets’ (edited by Grace Emmerson). Jeremiah as a book is rather hard to approach as it’s an anthology rather than a simple narrative, but there’s many cinematic moments throughout his life and it’s been fun weaving many of them into a narrative that transpires over a single day.