Without interval, My Mind is Free submerges you in tales of human trafficking. As four strangers huddle under blankets in a locked lorry hurtling towards their next prison this production seeks to create awareness of this growing issue where globally there are 1.1 million new victims a year. This equates to 3,000 victims a day, 125 an hour.
Sam Hall’s play seeks to capture the individual heart ache of trafficking, while managing to convey the breadth of the issue. Hailing from Vietnam, South America, Romania and UK, the four victims on stage have varied backgrounds and varied experiences of what it means to be trafficked.
Whether it be working on paving driveways, growing cannabis in a nail bar, or prostitution and rape My Mind is Free explores the stories of these victims one by one using flashbacks. As the actors take on roles from each of the stories, the sparse stage with its very few props of crates and blankets reflect what it is to be trafficked, possession-less, and unidentified.
Under Jude Spooner’s direction the physical theatre which combines acting, mime and dance brings a subtle emotion to these snapshots of the victims’ past. There is just the right balance of information to emotion, bringing to light an issue that is too often hidden behind closed doors, whether that be a millionaire’s house in Chelsea where the maid has no contact with the outside world and is raped by her employer, or a nail bar where victims are drugged.
The performances from the Rah Rah Theatre Company are astounding, dealing with and delivering these varied scenarios with a palpable sensitivity and, dare I say, grace. The movement and character swapping is seamless, and avoids the sense of confusion a multi-character cast can create. They work well as both a unit, and in telling their own individual stories, impressively presenting them without fault.
This play is a great starting point for those wishing to better understand not only what constitutes trafficking, but also what the UK’s Modern Slavery Act of 2015 means for victims. It may not have the scope to delve too deep into these stories, and therefore lacks the harrowing depths of emotion that such a topic could evoke, but My Mind is Free still manages to move beyond the superficial and tap into something more penetrating and profound.
A wonderful example of physical theatre, this is compelling viewing, and promises much as it moves to Edinburgh for the Fringe.
My Mind is Free played Waterloo East Theatre on July 27.