Dragonflies is the story of a family fighting for survival in a hostile world, looking for somewhere to call home, and something that might look like hope.
The year is 2021 and climate change is wreaking havoc across the globe. Donald Trump has been re-elected US President for a second term. Brexit is in full effect and causing chaos all over Europe. In the wake of escalating wars in the Middle East, famine in West Africa, and relentless terrorist attacks by radical extremists, the UK—and many nations around the world—has enforced a ban on all immigration.
With the coastline around him and life as he knows it crumbling to dust, Leslie Chen is forced to abandon his home in England and move his family back to his birthplace, Singapore. Confronting a country that is a world apart from the one he knew as a child, he is now made to question the meaning of home. As the crises and conflicts escalate, one thing is certain, come hell or high water, and possibly both, he must protect his family.
While dragonflies migrate halfway across the world, we, the human race, struggle to embrace our nomadic heritage, our need to move to greener pastures in order to survive. And as global warming, the resurgence of far-right politics and worldwide paranoia make us burn bridges and build walls between communities, families and individuals, we have to ask ourselves: Where do we go from here?
“Compassionate, hopeful and exquisitely acted.”
–Best of 2017, The Straits Times
“Watching Dragonflies is like reading an issue of The Economist from cover to cover: it is chock-full of urgent issues from immigration to xenophobia to climate change. Excellent script, evocative staging, brilliantly played!”
–The Business Times
“A dynamic and fresh look on current affairs that aims to enrich, surprise and stimulate its audience. But overall, the message of Dragonflies is simple: build bridges, not walls.”
“The play’s success lies in how realistic and possible it all is, and the genuine threats feel like they have the potential to seep into our own reality, with very real stakes for characters we’ve come to know and relate to, and evoking intense sympathy as we watch a family completely come apart, helpless in the face of circumstance.”
“A gripping tale of displacement that is, at once, epic and intimate.”
–Naeem Kapadia, Crystalwords
“A play that ambitiously tackles multiple issues—from climate change to human migration, from racism and xenophobia to openness and generosity, from ambivalence to empathy, from impassioned implementation of laws and policies (when “I’m sorry” really doesn’t mean “I’m sorry”) to the touching gentle connection of human relationships across lines that traditionally do not cross—and somehow successfully stitches it all together into deep, stirring storytelling.”
“Street's writing is effectual in capturing the pain brewed by grief, as well as the resignation in a person from a marginalised community.”
About the Author
Stephanie Street is an actress and writer, born and raised in Singapore. She read English at Cambridge and then trained on a scholarship at LAMDA. Her new adaptation of Wuthering Heights premiered at The Ambassadors as part of the NYT 2015 REP season. Her first play, Sisters, re-opened the Sheffield Crucible Studio in 2010 after the theatre’s refurbishment to critical acclaim. She has written numerous short pieces for theatre and radio as well as a number of short films for LAMDA films.
As an actor, credits include critically acclaimed work at the National Theatre (recently in Behind the Beautiful Forevers and, in 2011, in Nightwatchman, which earned her a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Solo Performance), for Out of Joint, the Bush, the Royal Court and Bristol Old Vic. Her TV work has included guest lead and regular parts in numerous series for the BBC, Channel 4, ITV and Sky Arts. She is a founder member of Act for Change campaigning for representative diversity in the industry, Literary Associate of HighTide Festival, Selector for the National Student Drama Festival and a trustee of Shakespeare North.
Size: 210mm x 145mm
Published: February 2020