For those of you who’ve never heard of Faslane, it’s the Trident nuclear warhead base in Scotland. Jenna Watt’s one-woman show is an exploration of what it means to be part of the local community that depends on Trident for jobs, when you’re not sure whether you’re for or against nuclear disarmament.
The performance is a monologue rich with information and personal anecdotes, complicating the pro/anti-missile arguments. Watt takes what might be a predictable conclusion in a refreshingly surreal direction. The script is sharp and on point, though the bits that are supposed to be funny don’t always draw a laugh from the audience.
She begins the performance with Einstein and Bertrand’s plea for disarmament. Then she embarks on a journey for a convincing argument on the subject, one that will turn her towards, or against, her family.
We are bombarded with recordings of politicians stating their outlook on Trident: David Cameron, Nicola Sturgeon, Mhairi Black, Theresa May and others, their arguments blurring and conflicting. Watt visits the nuclear base with her family, then the local peace camp, where she’s disappointed by the hippies living up to their clichés. She meets her uncle, who is exposed to radiation on a daily basis, and Eva, a woman who raised her children in the camp. Occasionally, Watts break her narration to stand on either side of the stage, stating arguments for and against nuclear weapons over a microphone: ‘Trident gets us a seat at the table.’
In what is perhaps the most effective scene, Watt asks an audience member from her own millennial generation, and then one from the previous generation, what a particular symbol means. ‘Peace’, says the first woman, ‘CND’, says the second: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I didn’t know, Watt says, and no one ever told me because they assumed I did. I never asked because I didn’t know that I didn’t know. There’s a lot that I didn’t know about Trident either, before I watched this production. As a millennial, this scene strikes a chord, pointing up the generational disconnect regarding this controversial and well-handled topic.