Q&A with Max Kolaru
What are the themes of Traffick Jam?
The themes of the play include female trafficking; modern slavery; love/separation; sexual and racial exploitation; and the suppression of Black History.
Why did you write Traffick Jam and why now?
I have written the play to place a spotlight on crimes against humanity, and the barbaric existence/practice of slavery and human trafficking. I have written it now, because in the wake of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, there is still no true recognition of the inhumanity of the slave trade. Or efforts of ‘restorative’ justice/compensation for damages. And unlike Modern Slavery and trafficking, profits of that ‘ancient trade’ are still held dear and cherished.
Which playwrights are you influenced by and why?
I’m influenced by Femi Oguns; Caryl Phillips; Winsome Pinnock; Paula B Stanic; Alfred Fagon and Harold Pinter. Each writes from a strong tradition of telling the stories of the ordinary, in extraordinary ways. I was outside the Duke of York Theatre, 8 Oct 2008, waiting to go in to see No Man’s Land, when Harold Pinter got out of a car. He walked to the theatre door, and was visibly frail, and I felt it improper to try and talk to him. He died later that year, a tragic loss to theatre. And it is one of my regrets that I never asked to ‘shake his hand’ and tell him, I was his ‘biggest fan’.
What do you want to achieve as a playwright?
As a playwright, I want to tell the stories that everyone else is afraid to hear, wants to stifle, and is afraid to stage. I’m not one of the ‘fashionable writers’. I’m still on the outside, but isn’t that where the voice of theatre used to be…