An Interview With Bucket List Director Nir Paldi
Nir Paldi is a writer, director, performer and co-artistic director of Theatre Ad Infinitum, which celebrates their 10th anniversary this year. The multi-award winning company brings its latest and powerful play Bucket List to The REP from 18 April. Nir Paldi tells us a bit more about the show.
What's Bucket List about?
Bucket List tells the story of Milagros, a young girl living in one of the most deprived areas of Northern Mexico, just by the boarder with the US. The area is full of assembling factories where western corporations employ Mexican workers for ridiculously low wages for very long shifts on zero hours contracts. They are able to get away with this as workers-rights get revoked under the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, signed in 1994 by the US, Canada and Mexico. The factories also have a terrible impact on the environment and the pollution is causing serious illness in very high numbers of the workers and surrounding communities. Violence against women is extremely high in general and abuse within the factories is rife. Milagros' mum is a political activist; leading protests against the terrible conditions she, her friends and their children have to live with. In one of these demonstrations, after ignoring death threats and refusing to stop her protesting – Milagros' mum is shot dead. Milagros witnessing her mother's murder changes her life irreversibly: she will never be the same again. She grows up an orphan and makes a decision to get justice for her mum, no matter the cost. She embarks on a revenge spree, hunting down the ones she holds responsible for the circumstances of her life.
What can audiences expect, and what do you want them to take from the show?
The show deals with complex themes and explores a lot of the hardship and pain people in this situation go through. But, the play also explores humor and how people use it in their harsh everyday lives – there are very funny moments in the play. We want the audience to go through a journey in which, like the characters, they feel conflicted and witness the complexity of the subject at hand. Things are not black and white. There are many grey areas in life and we constantly need to navigate our way through them. We also always try to make our performances thrilling and completely engrossing.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea for Bucket List was pitched to me by my long-standing collaborator Vicky Araico Casas. Vicky is a Mexican writer and actress. In 2012, we co-created a play called Juana in A Million. The play won a Fringe First Award (at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and has been touring around the world since. The moment Vicky told me about the idea for Bucket List I was completely taken by it and decided I'd love to make it as Theatre Ad Infinitum's next main piece
Tell us about going to Mexico
Mexico is Amazing! And also very, very big. I spent most of my time there in Mexico City creating a play with an all-Mexican crew. It was an unbelievable experience coming face to face with a culture I've been hearing about for so many years.
What's next for you?
We have a couple of projects in the pipeline that we will start work on following the Bucket List tour. One is going to deal with parenthood looking at the ethical concertation of having children in today's world. The other will look at the closure of the Deaf Club in Bristol and the impact it had on the d/Deaf community, and how it links to d/Deaf history in the city and the country at large. Another big thing coming up for us is the company's 10-year anniversary and we are planning a number of exciting events this year to mark Theatre Ad Infinitum's 10 year birthday this summer including a possible revival of one of our most-loved pieces. Details coming soon.
Bucket List plays at The REP from 18-20 April. Click here to purchase tickets online.