(Photo by Simon Richardson, graphic design by Jerry Williams)
THE MISTAKE is a new play by me, Michael Mears, for two actors, one British, one Japanese. I will be joined as a performer by You-Ri Yamanaka and the play will be directed by Jatinder Verma.
The subject of Hiroshima and the events leading up to the first atomic bomb is one that I am passionate about – believing it be ever more important and relevant today, as tensions increase around the world.
On the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the play is a powerful and compelling drama about what happens when scientific discoveries unlock the awesome power of nature – and “the genie is let out of the bottle”. In the play, I interweave the stories of a survivor, a scientist and a soldier, partly using verbatim testimonies and remembrances from eyewitnesses to explore the disastrous consequences of what is described on the Peace memorial in Hiroshima as 'the mistake'.
We want to premiere the play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August - with performances planned for Hiroshima Day (August 6th) and Nagasaki Day (August 9th) – before setting-off on an initial two-month tour of theatres and schools in the UK.
We're hoping to raise £7500 from this Crowdfunder appeal, to go towards the total cost of rehearsing the play in London, opening the play at the Edinburgh Festival and then touring it around the UK. That £7500 would go towards: Design of set, lighting, sound £3,800; Costumes, set, props £1,100; Publicity £1,150; Performers £1,450.
Can you help bring this urgent story before theatre audiences and school pupils?
MICHAEL MEARS - actor/playwright
I have been working as a professional actor for over three decades, in theatre, film and television. I've worked for many theatre companies, including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Peter Hall Company, and performed in London’s West End on numerous occasions.
I've also written three solo plays for the stage and seven solo plays for BBC Radio 4, all of which were performed by myself. My play about homelessness, SOUP, won a Scotsman Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival.
My most recent solo play THIS EVIL THING, depicting the struggle of Britain’s WW1 conscientious objectors, has been performed over 100 times in the last three years, in many parts of the UK as well as in 17 venues in the USA – playing at festivals, in theatres, churches, schools and even in Bristol Cathedral. (Photo of MICHAEL MEARS by Simon Richardson)
YOU-RI YAMANAKA - actor
You-Ri is a Japanese actress, movement director, voiceover and acting teacher working worldwide including in the U.K. (where she has been based for over 20 years), Europe, Japan and Egypt. She is trained in Japanese Kabuki theatre and Butoh dance. (Photo of YOU-RI YAMANAKA by Simon Richardson)
JATINDER VERMA - director
Jatinder founded and has served as Artistic Director of Tara Arts since its inception in 1977. He has recently stepped down to pursue his own projects – of which The Mistake is one of the first – and continue developing his pioneering “Binglish” cross-cultural theatre style, fusing Asian and European theatre sensibilities. In 1990, he became the first non-white director at the National Theatre, staging his own adaptation of Molière’s Tartuffe. This was followed by the first-ever staging at the National of the Sanskrit classic The Little Clay Cart and Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album. Jatinder was awarded an MBE in 2017.
(Photo of JATINDER VERMA with YOU-RI YAMANAKA by Simon Richardson)
Comments on performances of THIS EVIL THING, my previous play, about Britain’s WW1 conscientious objectors, hosted in theatres and schools in 2017 and 2018…
McAULEY CATHOLIC SECONDARY SCHOOL, DONCASTER:
'Michael Mears’ play is personal and powerfully written - I and the students who watched it were left not only moved but shifted in our perspective of ''this evil thing''. An absolutely exceptional experience.' (John Rooney, Headteacher)
SIBFORD SCHOOL, BANBURY:
'I thought Michael Mears' play was excellent. He has stimulated many minds here.' (Toby Spence, Headmaster at Sibford School)
MOUNT SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, YORK:
'The girls found Michael Mears' play moving and thought provoking. It will give them plenty of stimulus material for their exam and their own practical work. (Louise Williams – Head of English)
Many thanks in advance for any help you can give with this appeal! Michael Mears