A stunning multimedia show of epic scale and moving intricacy presented at the Barbican Theatre, The Forbidden Zone offers a rare female perspective on the proliferation of war, science and chemical weapons.
Directed by Katie Mitchell, The Forbidden Zone tells the story of Clara Immerwahr, wife of the famed chemist Fritz Haber, whose research during the First World War resulted in the deployment of chlorine gas on the battlefield. Clara’s disturbance at this development is mirrored by that of her granddaughter, 30 years later, a scientist charged with finding a poison gas antidote, but gripped by similar doubts to those of her ancestor.
Interweaving multiple narratives across the two time periods, The Forbidden Zone features feminist texts by Virginia Woolf and Mary Borden, whose account of running a field hospital provides the production’s title.
With well-embellished period sets, including a moving subway train, the drama is heightened by the seamless, real-time creation onstage of cinematic-quality film, screened to intensify every meticulous move made by Schaubühne’s ensemble.
Presented as part of 14-18 NOW, a major cultural programme across the UK commemorating the centenary of the First World War, this show is suitable for ages 16+.