Guantanamo 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom'

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 16 June 2004, Opened 23 June 2004, Closed 4 September 2004 at the Ambassadors Theatre in London

"I don't know what crime I am supposed to have committed for which not only I but my wife and children should continually suffer" British detainee Moazzam Begg

"Very simply the reason for their detention is that they are dangerous. Were they not detained, they would return to the fight and continue to kill innocent men, women and children. Detention is not an arbitrary act of punishment... It can save lives and indeed I am convinced it can speed victory" US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

Weaving together personal stories, legal opinion and political debate, Guantanamo 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom' looks at the questions surrounding the detentions in Guantanamo Bay, and asks how much damage is being done to Western democratic values during the 'war-on-terror'. This production transfers to the Ambassadors Theatre following a run at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.

"The purpose of holding the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay was and is to put them beyond the rule of law, beyond the mercy of any courts, and at the mercy of the victors... but history will not be neutered. What takes place there today in the name of the United States will be judged at the bar of informed international opinion" Lord Steyn

"Although long familiar on radio and TV, the drama-documentary has only recently enveloped the London theatre. The original source of many of the best has been the Tricycle in Kilburn, with reconstructions including the Stephen Lawrence case, the Hutton Enquiry and even the Nuremberg Trials. Now, for the first time, one has opened in the West End. Journalist Victoria Brittain and novelist Gillian Slovo compiled Guantanamo from interviews of detainees at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The sign at Guantanamo reads " Honor bound to defend freedom ". After this production by Sacha Wares and the Tricycle's director Nicolas Kent you wonder: Whose honour, whose freedom? Few playwrights could make their points as dramatically or effectively as these witnesses." The Daily Express

"The Tricycle's re-creations of the Scott, McPherson and Hutton inquiries have won it a reputation for responsible documentary drama and verbatim theatre; so its attempt to investigate Guantanamo Bay must be taken seriously. And, yes, it's appalling to hear a former British detainee describe how he had refused to wear an identifying wristband, feeling it was a concentration-camp tattoo, and had been made to shake and shiver in a bare cage "just like a freezer blowing cold air for 24 hours". The problem is that such evidence hasn't been subjected to independent examination, let alone cross-examination, and so hasn't the authority of its public inquiry counterparts. But there's enough in Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo's selection of quotations and interviews to distress, disturb and fill anyone with anxiety at what's happening in the Americans' law-free oubliette. . The stage is filled with steel beds and flanked by cages in which orange-clad figures move; but most of the voices come unsensationally and soberly from chairs at the front." The Times

"Guantanamo cuts to the quick in a series of statements from a handful of the 650 people, several of whom are British Asians, held in prison camps, often in chains, in cages or in solitary confinement, in Cuba and here in Britain. Their crime? To be Moslems, and therefore suspected terrorists. It's similar, but much worse, to the situation here in the Seventies when Irish people were arrested and held, suspected of some involvement with the IRA. The injustice of the situation would be worthy of a Kafkaesque farce if it were not such a tragedy. This shocking, harrowing account, all the more potent for the stoicism and lack of sensationalism with which it is delivered, should be not just seen but acted upon." The Mail on Sunday

Guantanamo 'Honor Bound to Defend Freedom' in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 16 June 2004, opened on 23 June 2004 and closed on 4 September 2004.