Review: Truth To Power Cafe ★★★★★
Jeremy Goldstein brings his traveling Truth To Power Cafe to Renmark, South Australia – and delivers a triumphant rebellion which puts the bravery of guest speakers front and centre.
Truth to Power Cafe | Riverland Youth Theatre, Renmark | 19 November 2022
Jeremy Goldstein has been touring the inspirational Truth To Power Cafe since 2016, giving a platform to over 600 speakers in the UK, Australia, The Netherlands, Croatia, Singapore and USA. Inspired by the political and philosophical beliefs of Harold Pinter and his Hackney Gang – of which Goldstein’s father, Mick, was a member – TTPC offers community participants the opportunity to take to the stage and speak their truth to power.
This latest edition, in Renmark (South Australia), marks the 51st in what will hopefully be a never-ending run of brave, empowering and inspirational events which truly have the power to restore your faith in humanity.
Jeremy is a consummate host – his care for his fellow participants is obvious throughout, not least with his attentive mic-stand monitoring! – but perhaps the most important thing he does is to create a space for, and give license to, his guests to enter a safe space for sharing their intimate stories.
Some theatre-makers attempt to do this – with varying degrees of success – without giving much, if any, of themselves. No such evasion from Jeremy – by taking to the stage at the top of the show, sharing his story and that of his father, and putting his own truths on display for all to see, he paves the way for the less experienced ‘performers’ to follow. However many times Jeremy must have told this story, the energy and emotion that he puts into it is admirable.
In Renmark, those speakers were Kat Bell, Jai Boon, Rebecca Cheesman, Britnie Hocking, Bethany Lawrie, Penn O’Brien, Linikka Richards, Stuart Watkinson & Miriam van der Wood. All spoke eloquently and passionately, and it would be against the spirit of Truth To Power Cafe to ‘review’ them in any way – these were not performances, but truths, presented as much for the empowerment of the speaker as for the audience. That said, a word for Jai Boon, whose energy and spirit really summed up the up-yours, “you and whose army?” temerity of the whole endeavour.
There’s such a feeling of love and support on the stage and in the audience in Renmark, that it carried around the world via the live video link. Only the most stone-hearted of audiences would fail to be moved by at least one of these occasionally raw, always honest stories.
The real achievement here is for the participants themselves, who do exactly what it says on the tin: they Speak To Power. Jeremy Goldstein deserves some kind of medal for creating a space for this to happen – we need more Truth To Power Cafe’s, everywhere, now!
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