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Lion in the Streets is a two-act play with sometimes violent and terrifying incidents engulfing the audience with its representations. Isobel, a ghost, must watch as others make life-altering mistakes in an urban setting. The imaginative style of the narrative, as each twist and turn becomes painfully obvious, accentuates the repetitive cycle of an urban lifestyle.
Judith Thompson conceived this play as a radio play and invites the audience to experience each extract as it occurs. The seemingly detached, even random occurrences are linked as Thompson uses Isobel to wander between scenes much as she would if she was passing-by. In this way, the play develops its purpose as Isobel seeks to find her murderer and thus "ascend" into heaven.
The "lion" is in everyone and, when exposed, has the potential to explode or "roar" when internal and external forces collide. The metaphor of the lion in the streets - it can threaten but it is also representative of the power within us to overcome indicates stark contrasts. The contrasts also indicate Thompson's style. The living Isobel was an immigrant child who did not blend into her surroundings and ultimately pays the price for that and the deceased Isobel - a ghost - goes sometimes noticed and sometimes unnoticed.
This style of Thompson's in Lion in the Streets exposes the conflict between the inner self and that which people expose to the outside world. Thompson effectively destroys any illusion of a safe environment. The audience is drawn in to the play, willingly or otherwise and the theatrical and dramatic representations complete the picture.
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