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National Theatre Wales
April 2013

The Opportunity of Efficiency

Inspired by the growth of efficiency as a force for change in society and the influence of big business on national and international affairs, The Opportunity of Efficiency is a story of small lives caught up in a global power struggle.

Bio-scientist Iffy Scott has made a discovery that could save millions of lives – but, it seems, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Alan Harris (writer of National Theatre Wales’ first ever production, A Good Night Out in the Valleys) returns to create the company’s first ever international commission, produced by the New National Theatre, Tokyo.

Director John E McGrath is looking for a song by a Welsh band or artist to feature in the show - can you help? Click here to find out more.

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Q&A Session

Booking Information - The Opportunity of Efficiency

Latitude and Longitude: 

Tokyo Residency

Working in an enormous range of locations, we are committed to deep and lasting engagement with the communities, venues and spaces where we rehearse and perform. Our Year 3 programme focuses on a series of residencies - in Butetown, Tokyo, Anglesey and Treorchy - bringing as many aspects of the company's activity as possible to each location, sharing ideas and ways of working, and learning new things from our hosts.

In April 2013 our second residency of the year will be taking place in Tokyo alongside The Opportunity of Efficiency.

We’ll be working with New National Theatre, Tokyo and the British Council to bring a range of National Theatre Wales activity to Japan, including:

We’ll be sharing as much of this activity as possible online.

Trailer - The Opportunity of Efficiency

Cast & Creative Team

Creative Team
Alan Harris

John E McGrath

Nagashima Kaku

Shusaku Futamara

Toyohara Kosuke
Miyamoto Yuko
Tajima Yusei
Shibuya Haruka
Tajima Reiko
Nakajima Shu

“The drive for efficiency is everywhere these days, seeping into every aspect of society. But can we become too efficient – as people and as a society? Is efficiency the enemy of creativity? When does efficiency so alter a society that it’s impossible to get back what we’ve lost?

These questions and thoughts were the starting point for The Opportunity of Efficiency. At the same time that I was commissioned by the New National Theatre Tokyo, I’d also been thinking about Big Pharma – how a few, massive companies dominate the global pharmaceutical market and how that market can be manipulated and controlled through the patent system and international “cooperation” between governments and corporations.

In this play, a scientist makes a potential great discovery – but what if that discovery threatens big business or the interest of nations? On the flip side, what if that discovery just leads to more? More consumption, more drugs, more cancer, more waste? Maybe we’re better off without it? Maybe efficiency isn’t so bad after all?

The play took shape in Wales (even though it’s to be performed in Tokyo, it’s not specifically set there - I see it as a small bio company on an industrial estate on the outskirts of a town). It was influenced by talking to scientists about the difficulties in developing new drugs, by my own experience of a “time and motion study” while working in an office years ago and the growing clamour to prune back every aspect of society.
It was also moulded by a trip to Japan. While there, I was struck by the uncertainty in the country with regard to what sort of place it will be in the future; following the recent disasters there seemed a need for efficiency in the here and now but also an opportunity to shape a better future.”

- Alan Harris, Writer