Dead Time explores the story of Dr Mohamed Haneef, an Indian national working at a Gold Coast Hospital, arrested on July 2 2007 on suspicion of being connected to the attack on Glasgow Airport.
“The play touches on issues of terrorism and how that’s played out in the public arena, the way it’s represented by the government and the way the media reports on terrorism, but the heart of the story is not about terrorism. It tends more towards civil rights,” explains the play’s writer and director Fleur Beaupert. “Overall there are two strands to the play. On one hand you have the experience of imprisonment and disempowerment… we wanted to create a sense of what that would be like, a person being imprisoned and not knowing when they’re going to be released. On the other hand you have people coming together to try and rally to support a person, a sense of connection between people and resilience of the human spirit.”
There are certain abstract moments in the play, it’s not completely chronological. Much of it is based around the interviews that happened between the Australian Federal Police and Dr Haneef. There’s the relationship between him and the police officers, there’s a dramatic storyline involving the media with two journalist characters. We also see the role of the government, one actor represents a number of government figures that play a role in the story.
“It’s fairly clear that the anti-terrorism laws we have in place now do go a little further than the traditional approach to criminal justice. The new Dead Time provision in the Commonwealth Crimes Act allowed Dr Haneef to be detained for longer without being charged and this was previously unknown in our justice system,” adds Beaupert. (MS)
May 20-29, Wednesday to Friday, 107 Projects, 107 Redfern Street, Redfern. Bookings & information: www.107projects.org or 02 9690 1007