Anders Lustgarten’s political play Extremism is about fear, friendship and the creeping polarisation of our society.
It runs at the Theatre Peckham from November 5-23.
Set in a classroom, the story unfolds after one of the pupils has been taken away by the Government organisation Prevent because the teacher believes them to be demonstrating signs of radicalisation.
Left alone in the classroom, the rest of the class try to come to terms with what’s happened. The situation soon becomes a melting pot for explosive opinions and actions.
Surprise turns to suspicion, suspicion turns to fear, fear turns to accusation and accusation turns to violence.
The revival of Lustgarten’s highly-charged piece aims to shine a light on the issues and stimulate debate around the radicalisation of young people.
Directed by Theatre Peckham’s artistic director Suzann McLean and including a cast of 10 young actors, the play also presents a milestone for the theatre in terms of the themes explored and its output as a producing theatre.
Conversation Stations will be set up after each performance and audiences will have the opportunity to talk to and seek advice from specialist organisations about the issues raised in the play.
Ms McLean said: “It deals with many challenges facing young people in today’s society; peer pressure, consent, friendship, racism, and not least a growing area of concern, radicalisation.
“My hope is that this play allows us to question stereotypes and the use of negative language surrounding identity based on race or religion.
“It will be a challenging watch, but I feel that seeing fictional portrayals of bullying at its most basic – sometimes referred to as banter – as well as at its worst, we will see drama being utilised as a medium for social change.”