The Crown

The Crown
22 April to 27 June at the Bridge Theatre

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Siege Of Krishnapur

From the BBC Press Office:

It is 1857, and British rule in India is under siege. Inspired by the sieges of Cawnpore and Lucknow, this dramatisation, by Olivier, Sony and Writer's Guild award winning Shelagh Stephenson, details the siege of a fictional town during the Indian Rebellion, from the perspective of the British residents.

The main characters find themselves subject to the increasing strictures and deprivation of the siege, which reverses the "normal" structure of life where Europeans governed Asian subjects. The absurdity of the class system in a town that no-one can leave becomes a source of comic invention, though the text is serious in intent and tone.

Heat, starvation, disease and death take their toll on the besieged colonists. But though vaguely absurd and impossibly insular in their outlook, they are given the opportunity to show the stuff of which they are made. Some, remarkably, rise to the occasion, surprising even themselves, while others betray the more preposterous traits of 19th-century colonialism and the reason why the Raj was ultimately destined to collapse.

Alex Jennings stars as The Collector, charged with care of a small and often fractious British community. Malcolm Tierney plays Dr Dunstable and Jasmine Hyde plays Louise.

The Siege Of Krishnapur Ep 1/2, Sunday 10 May, 3.00-4.00pm BBC RADIO 4

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