Winning play, “Swallows’, covering issues relating to euthanasia, performed in Oxford this month. Dominica Roberts from ProLife Alliance took part in panel discussion afterwards.
A one-act play, “Swallows”, by Bob Whorton, who is a chaplain at a hospice, was performed at the Old Fire Station Arts Centre in Oxford on March 23rd and 24th. It was the winner of an annual competition run by a playwriting course .
It is set in a hospice in a future in which they have recently been forced to provide euthanasia. The four characters were all very convincingly written and acted. There is an old, ill man, a Professor of Mathematics , who wants to be the first to die under the new law. His son, who feels he has always been despised by him, makes an attempt to resolve this issue. Female characters are a reluctant palliative care doctor and a cheerful foreign care assistant.
The obvious themes of autonomy, suffering, treatment of pain, the effect on medical personnel, on the family, and on society of suicide and euthanasia, and the need of those near the end of life to make sense of it all, were addressed but not at all heavy-handedly.
In spite of the theme, this was a gripping but not a depressing production, which deserves further showing.
There was a brief audience discussion afterwards, in which a representative from Dignity in Dying and Dominica Roberts of the Pro Life Alliance , representing Care Not Killing, took part.