A new play coming to London this Summer is set to be one of the most controversial yet. Bitter Wheat will be a ‘farce’ inspired by the scandal surrounding disgraced Hollywood Mogul, Harvey Weinstein.
The play will feature John Malkovich, and is written by David Mamet. Mamet’s last Broadway show ‘China Doll’ featured Al Pacino.
Malkovich featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme on Tuesday and said the play is “a black farce about a very badly behaved movie mogul…a lot of people may not like it but it is a terrific piece of writing”.
Andy Connolly, director at SurvivorsUK, welcomes the play bringing light to sensitive issues and explains that “in our society there remain too many barriers to seeking help and a culture of silence around sexual violence; we welcome anything that can responsibly be done to reduce these barriers and challenge this silence”.
Despite shedding light on sexual abuse, there is controversy surrounding how the play will portray the mogul and his alleged victims. Malkovich’s character, Barney Fein, is described as devouring “the young he has lured into his cave”.
On the subject of the show, the award-winning actor said “a lot of great plays elicit the question: do I laugh or cry? I think a lot of great comedy exists at the crossroads between pain and farce”.
“In our society there remain too many barriers to seeking help and a culture of silence around sexual violence.”
Connolly strongly feels that anyone acting in the play needs specialist training in how to respectfully portray the events that will be shown.
SurvivorsUK “would encourage anyone working on these subjects to consult directly with victims and survivors to ensure any representations made are realistic, to consider carefully their potential impact, and to provide trigger warnings and appropriate specialist support for anyone affected by them”.
The play that “confronts the horror of life” will be shown at the Garrick theatre, London, from 7 June to 14 September.
SurvivorsUK provides specialist counselling, group work, advocacy, website and helpline services to male victims and survivors of sexual violence. More information on their services can be found on their website.
Featured photo by Christian Charisius via AFP