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EDINBURGH 2019: THE TRIAL Q&ABWW catches up with Franko Figueiredo to chat about bringing The Trial to the 2019 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

What was the inspiration for the show?

Inspiration for The Trial came from various different sources: a novel, stories of friends in Brazil and UK, our own personal stories and newspaper articles.

Firstly, we wanted to use the structure and setting of the novel Tieta do Agreste by Jorge Amado, set in a time when Brazil was governed by a military regime with very close relation to the US. Add to that conversations with friends, recording of their stories, bits of my personal story of when I left Brazil in the late 80s, the current discussions on how gender in Brazil is being addressed by the government of Bolsonaro and in fact, the rise on LGBTQ hate crime in the world, all this was inspiration in the process of writing/devising The Trial.

Why is it an important story to tell?

You don't need to go to Brazil to see the rise of LGBTQ hate crime, and in particular to our Trans friends. Statistics show that, in the UK alone, one in five LGBTQ people have been victims of hate crime because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the last 12 months. The Trial aims to provoke audiences to re-think how they sit in this universe, are we just passively watching it all go by?

The Trial is a very important story to tell right now, because, unfortunately, the time of 'full' equality is not quite with us yet, we still feel oppressed by the legacy of the heteronormative history: there is still a lot of misunderstanding and bigotry against the LGBTQ + community that we need to overcome. It is a wake up call about human rights, and how exclusive those rights can easily become.

What sets it apart from other theatre performances at the festival?

The interactive element of The Trial that doesn't allow for the audience just to sit back and receive the story; it invites the audience to join in creating the atmosphere, slowly joining the local Brazilian community, witnessing facts and circumstances, they eat together, dance together, engage in dialogue and then comes the moment when The Trial takes place, and the audience is asked to discuss and reach their verdict; they have the control of how the story ends. It is this interaction, intercepted with the storytelling and music, that takes the audience on a journey I am sure they won't experience anywhere else.

What would you like audiences to take away from The Trial?

We hope our audiences will leave the experience more informed and aware of what is happening around the world in terms of hate-crime; inspired to engage in positive actions towards eliminating hate-crime around them, sign petitions, talk to their neighbour, spread the spirit of tolerance; and provoked to take action, however small, towards achieving human rights for all.

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From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue