Monday, 30 July 2012

Kursk: A nightmare of the deep

On the 12th of August 2000, a Russian nuclear powered submarine, the K- 141 Kursk, suffered a malfunction as it prepared to fire a practice torpedo as part of an attack exercise. The torpedo’s propellant seeped through the rust in its casing triggering two large explosions which left it stranded at the bottom of the icy waters of the Barents Sea. All 118 sailors were trapped on board.

The reaction across the globe was one of quiet terror as the world contemplated the nightmarish fate of those trapped beneath the waves. Even more incredulous was the reaction to the Russian Navy, who acted with seemingly callous arrogance, by refusing the initial offers of help from British and Norwegian teams. Despite delayed efforts to aid the stricken men, each and every one perished in darkness on the floor of the Arctic Ocean.

So profound and chilling a tragedy could not be treated either to soon or to sensitively by the arts, so it must have been some relief when Byrony Lavery’s play about a fictitious British Submarine sent to spy on the stricken vessel was met with acclaim by both critics and audiences when it was first performed at The Old Vic in 2009. After a similarly successful tour around the UK, the story is set to be realised for the screen by one of the UK’s most exciting young directorial talent’s Amanda Boyle.

Boyle, whose CV already sports among the best known and received programmes in British television- including Cast Offs and Skins- will direct the feature, which will debut exclusively online. In collaboration with Sound & Fury/Fuel and as a part of the BBC/Art  council’s initiative, “The Space”, Boyle will work with a dynamic and award-winning young team to bring the unique design and atmosphere of the stage play to a film which will be available free from The Space’s website from the 1st of August until October.

(This is a small excerpt from a larger article awaiting publication)

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