All great plays can be identified through their connection to different ages and times. Joe Penhall’s masterpiece Blue/Orange was written in 2000, yet its themes are still largely relevant today. Tackling mental health, racial inequality and an underfunded healthcare system, the topic of this play is provocative, perceptive and still resonates over two decades later.
A modern masterpiece that packs a punch.
Blue/Orange tells the story of Christopher, a patient who had been sectioned to the psychiatric ward for a month. Looking forward to his discharge, Christopher is all set for his release until an orange throws his diagnosis into question. His doctor wants to detain him under section indefinitely whereas a senior consultant thinks it’s a question of culture – there’s also pressing logistical issues: they need the beds.
Directed by Oldham Coliseum’s Chris Lawson, the story takes place over 24 hours. With the power struggle building to an explosive crescendo – Blue/Orange is a sardonically, intense and witty exploration of institutional racism, ethics and mental health.
A sardonically, intense and witty exploration of institutional racism, ethics and mental health.
The play garnered a string of awards when it first premiered over 20 years ago – winning Best New Play at The Critics Circle Awards and the Evening Standard Awards in 2000 and then the Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2001. Perhaps, most strikingly, Blue/Orange is a play that continues to build its authority with audiences and performers – showing no signs of shrinking away. A modern masterpiece that packs a punch – don’t miss out.
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