“When Olive, my grandmother died in 1998, I came across a diary she had written between 1945-46. What she wrote inside exploded everything we thought we knew about how my father came into the world.
“Her words conjured into life the daily struggle of a single woman seizing every moment as the bombs rained down on London town. When the bombs fell silent, Olive’s sudden loss of independence was unbearable.
“In a time before the establishment of the NHS and the Welfare State, being a single, unmarried mother was not desirable,” wrote playwright Rachel Karafistan, Olive’s granddaughter.
“I’m not sure she would like me to tell it but I’m going to anyway,” she tells T-VINE.
“Because in these futuristic post war days, where words like feminism, immigration and populism divide us so brutally – it is my story too.”
Seventy-four years after Olive wrote her wartime diary Rachel Karafistan, inspired by her grandmother’s writing, returns to where the diary was first penned to create this solo performance in which she stars.
Co-written with Kuba Pierzchalski, Dreams Die Hard travels through many landscapes and summons ghosts from the past on a journey towards truth and tolerance. From London to Cyprus and way beyond.
An unplanned pregnancy, a Turkish Cypriot lover, a red-headed American soldier and a monkey. This is Olive’s story.
The production weaves projection and live shadow puppetry; war time politics with Brexit time politics; the drama of 1940s London with the reality of 1980s Liverpool.
Questions of vulnerability, national identity, discrimination and national boundaries are raised in a new international production for our increasingly intolerant times.
Olive’s words from the diary resonate now louder than ever before:
“I must have a very strong streak of foreign blood in me because I have never in my life felt any love for my country.
“I find in this narrow world, I have to conform to a pattern to make others happy.
“Make me more content to live in a humdrum world. Make me forget all the other things my restless spirit craves. My spirit of adventure must be sacrificed.
“Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to travel to find a Utopia, travel on and on until I found it. Well, dreams die hard.” Olive Davis, London 1945.
Featured as part of A Piece of the Continent, a theatre festival celebrating and supporting cross-border cultural exchanges – Dreams Die Hard makes its UK premiere at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre before embarking on a tour of Europe.
Title: Dreams Die Hard
Running time: 1 hour
Dates & Times:
- London performances: Monday 22 April 2019 to Saturday 27 April 2019, starts 6.15 pm
- Coventry performances: Thursday 27 June 2019 and Friday 28 June 2019, starts 7.30 pm
- London: Tristan Bates Theatre, 1A Tower St, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9NP
- Coventry: The Albany Studio, Albany Theatre, Albany Road, Coventry, CV5 6JQ
Admission details: The performance is considered suitable for ages 14+. The cost of admission is £13 (£11 concessions). Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the performance begins. The theatre cannot guarantee entry to the performance once it has begun. The Actors Centre reserves the right to refuse entry.
Tickets: tickets are available online from the venues