Proud by Natalie Mitchell

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The Wire on BBC Radio 3

BBC Radio 3, 9 March 2013
Gary (Tom Brooke) has a criminal record, having become involved in a protest movement whose activities include attacking buildings and people. 
Sally Avens' production tried to show how and why he ended up like this.  The son of Frank (Peter Wight), a proud activist, patriot and ex-skinhead, Gary tries his best to make a life for himself and his family.  However it seems as if the cards are stacked against him; no one will give him a regular job, and his partner Rachel (Lizzy Watts) and baby Oscar have walked out on him.  Gary feels ashamed for what he is, especially since his brother Anthony had joined army and died fighting on behalf of his country in Afghanistan.
Eventually it seems that salvation is at hand, as he finds a job as information officer for the protest movement.  The only snag is that the movement has become involved in illegal activities - something that causes Frank particular concern.  Like his son, he believes that everyone has the right to stand up for their country and pursue gainful employment; but he also believes in the rule of law.  Despite his obvious convictions, Gary runs the risk of breaking that law; hence the conflict.
As the play progresses, so Gary has to find a way to cope with that dilemma, as well as sustain a close relationship with his father; but sadly things do not turn out as he had hoped.
Proud provides a bleak picture of life in contemporary Britain, in a context where patriotism and extremism are often confused; where the police are often heavy-handed in their tactics; and where respectable young working-class citizens are often forced by circumstances into courses of action that they don't to pursue. The play exemplifies the capacity of drama to raise issues that political analyses and social commentators often ignore.