Jackets sets out a resonant and poetic counterpoint between two scenes of martyrdom, a powerful dyadic commentary on the politics of sacrifice. Part One is set in eighteenth-century Japan and Part Two is set in modern Europe. The head of a boy is needed so it will appear that the prince has been killed, but the head needs to be convincing and must look like an upper-class boy. A dead solider is needed to increase the morale of the soldiers who are fighting rioters, and he needs to look like an officer so that the conspiracy will work. The play produces detailed and human portraits, the force of its argument emerging from their vividly drawn responses and the potent interaction between its two parts.
Derived from ‘The Village School’ scene of Sugawaraby Takeda Zumo, Jackets premiered in 1989 at Lancaster University.