Land of Eagles is an audio drama consisting of five monologues written by Alison Porter and recorded remotely by professional actors during the pandemic. Each monologue presents a different perspective (victim/survivor, trafficker, case worker and mother) on the story of an Albanian survivor of human trafficking for the sex trade. The story is based on verbatim testimony and real events provided by the Medaille Trust and Black Country Women's Aid, in the UK and the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation and Arise in Tirana, Albania. The events in the story are real but names have been changed to protect those sharing their stories. The monologues were broadcast in a daily podcast over a week in October 2021 by the Medaille Trust.
In tribunal plays the judge or tribunal chair is able to introduce contextual information and in some verbatim plays a quasi-narrator provides important contextual information for example Vardy v Rooney (Kearney, 2022) uses television reporters, Synergy’s The Special Relationship (Abdulrazzak, 2020) uses an immigration officer as MC, and Alecky Blythe writes herself into Come Out Eli (2014). The creative team experimented with the use of a narrator in the form of the voice of Lekë Dukagjini (a 15th century Albanian Prince and law maker) and a chorus but stylistically these classical approaches clashed with the realism of the monologues. The team also experimented with informational boards and projected images to provide context but these visual mediums, of course, did not work with audio drama. For the Anti-Slavery week podcasts the Medaille Trust used an announcer to introduce each monologue and subject matter experts to provide contextual information rather than a narrator which removed the dramaturgical problem. Later in the process the idea of a contextual installation to frame the podcasts emerged and led to the creation of Artefacts.
14:45, Thu 23 Feb 2023
The first monologue tells the story of Majlinda, who is tricked into exploitation in the sex trade by someone claiming to be her boyfriend. This is the story of her journey from Tirana in Albania to the UK. On the Medaille Trust website you can hear Garry Smith, Chief Executive of Medaille Trust, talking about the 'boyfriend trick' scenario and why it is so common. In the same podcast Alison Porter, writer and director of the monologue series, explains why this project matters.
Elizabeth ‘Lizzie” Schenk – the voice of Majlinda is an English actor and voiceover artist with Swiss heritage. She trained at LAMDA and recently appeared in the ensemble of Good at The Harold Pinter Theatre.
(MP3 format, 3.6 MB)
14:42, Thu 23 Feb 2023
The mini-series telling the story of modern slavery from different perspectives continues with Jetmir, the trafficker, who has tricked Majlinda into travelling abroad with him. A contextual a discussion with Stephen Hay, Director of Police and Justice Partnerships at Medaille Trust and Helen Gordos, from the National Crime Agency about the realities of modern slavery today can be accessed on the Medaille Trust website .
Dritan Kastrati – the voice of Jetmir, is an Albanian actor who arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied child asylum seeker and went on to train as an actor through Frantic Assembly’s Ignition programme. His auto-biographical play How not to Drown, co-written with Nicola McCartney and produced by ThickSkin, is currently touring the UK.
(MP3 format, 3.6 MB)
14:39, Thu 23 Feb 2023
In the third monologue Majlinda is now safe and receiving support from her caseworker, Jo, in a safe house like those run by Medaille Trust. The Medaille Trust podcast linked to this episode features interviews with two senior caseworkers, Katy Hallam and Hannah Spittal.
(MP3 format, 2.2 MB)
14:33, Thu 23 Feb 2023
The fourth monologue features Majlinda's mother, Ela, who is at home in Albania. She doesn't know where her daughter is or what has become of her, but feels unable to ask questions or look for her. The accompanying podcast features interviews with Ana Stakaj and Irena Kraja from the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation, supporting trafficked women and girls in Albania and their families. Mary Ward Loreto do vital work preventing modern slavery and supporting victims and their families. Irene describes exploitation in Albania as 'widespread but not visible'. The discussion explores the experiences of women who are exploited and trafficked within and from Albania, as well as their families who are left behind.
Donna Sherifi – the voice of Ela, was born in Kosovo, grew up in Sweden and trained as an actor in London.
(MP3 format, 3.1 MB)
14:24, Thu 23 Feb 2023
The final monologue explores the life of a survivor of modern slavery once they leave safe house support. How do they integrate into the community? What support is available then? The Medaille Trust podcast introducing the monologue features members of the Moving On Project team, Miranda Cassidy, Amanda Le Noble and Jess Conlon, who talk about their experiences supporting women survivors in the community and the barriers facing them. The episode also hears from a client supported by the Moving on Project.
R.B. ‘Rona’ Castrioti – singer of the ancient Albanian song ‘Bilbili’ (the Nightingale) is a composer of Greek-Italian and Albanian decent. She is currently a doctoral student affiliated to The Budapest Strings Orchestra, The Czech National Symphony Orchestra, The Kosovo Philharmonic Orchestra and The National Theatre of Kosovo.
(MP3 format, 3.1 MB)