The Rabbit House

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Going Underground20100517

Laura Alcoba was the daughter of members of the Montoneros, a militant left-wing organisation engaged in a bitter and violent conflict with the military government in Argentina in what later came to be called the 'dirty war' of the 1970s.

Her memoir of living through this turbulent time is a powerful and moving account of political upheaval seen thorugh the eyes of a young child, who knows enough to be frightened, but not enough to understand.

With her father in prison, she and her mother move into a safe house in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, where they run a rabbit breeding business as a cover for the backroom operation of the Montoneros' clandestine printing press, turning out copies of their revolutionary newspaper for distribution all over the city.

The seven year-old Laura is brought up among secrecy, subterfuge and silence, and learns very early the importance of keeping hr muth shut, and the danger of loose talk or careless behaviour.

But there's also love and laughter in the Rabbit House, and a comforting sense of loyalty and friendship - which she only later discovers to have been betrayed most horribly.

Laura Alcoba's story of living through violence and political turbulence is about the Argentina of only thirty years ago, and she speaks for a generation who carry the scars of that time.

The emotions she remembers from her childhood are those still felt by children all around the world living on the front line of fear, violence and uncertainty as adults wars rage around them.

Laura Alcoba now lives in Paris.

Adult Laura: Saira Todd

Young Laura: Bethan Barke

Mother: Jenny Coverack

Father: Jay Villiers

Grandmother: Merelina Kendall

Grandfather: Rod Beacham

Diana: Lisa Coleman

Engineer: Vincenzo Pellegrino

Chicha: Sonia Elliman

Shopkeeper/Guard: Charlotte Ellis

Producer: Sara Davies

The Rabbit House by Laura Alcoba is translated by Polly McClean and dramatised for radio by Sheila Yeger.

Laura Alcoba's memoir about a turbulent Argentinian childhood in the 1970s.

02The Reunion Doll20100518

Laura Alcoba's powerful and moving account of a growing up as the child of militant members of the Montoneros during Argentina's 'dirty war' in the 1970s.

Young Laura is staying with her grandparents, while her father 's in prison and her mother goes into hiding.

It's been two months since she's seen them.

After a visit to her father in prison, Laura goes with her grandparents to meet her mother in a busy square, to be confronted by a woman with heavily dyed hair she barely recognises who takes her off to buy another doll.

Each time she and her parents are reunited after a period apart, Laura gets a doll, and she's beginning to build up quite a collection.

Adult Laura: Saira Todd

Young Laura: Bethan Barke

Mother: Jenny Coverack

Father: Jay Villiers

Grandmother: Merelina Kendall

Grandfather: Rod Beacham

Diana: Lisa Coleman

Engineer: Vincenzo Pellegrino

Chicha: Sonia Elliman

Shopkeeper/Guard: Charlotte Ellis

Producer: Sara Davies

The Rabit House by Laura Alcoba is translated from the French by Polly McLean, and adapted for radio by Sheila Yeger.

After a visit to her father in prison, Laura goes with her grandparents to meet her mother

03The Rabbits Arrive20100519

Laura Alcoba's powerful and moving story about her childhood in Argentina during the violent years of the 'dirty war' in the 1970s.

Laura and her mother move into a new safe house, with a couple called Diana ('Didi') and Daniel ('Cacho'), who are also members of the Montoneros militant group, although both lead outwardly respectable lives.

This is the house the Montoneros have chosen for their clandestine printing press, which will be operated under the cover of a rabbit breeding business.

Laura watches as the Engineer arrives each morning in a van with a blanket over his head to build a false wall which will hide the press, and once the rabbits arrive she's thrilled to be entrusted with a job of her own to help with the distribution of the Montoneros' clandestine newspaper.

But as the stakes grow higher, her silence becomes more important to the operation.

Adult Laura: Saira Todd

Young Laura: Bethan Barke

Mother: Jenny Coverack

Father: Jay Villiers

Grandmother: Merelina Kendall

Grandfather: Rod Beacham

Diana: Lisa Coleman

Engineer: Vincenzo Pellegrino

Chicha: Sonia Elliman

Shopkeeper/Guard: Charlotte Ellis

Producer: Sara Davies

The Rabbit House by Laura Alcoba is translated by Polly McClean and dramatised for radio by Sheila Yeger.

Laura and her mother move into a new safe house, and the rabbits arrive.

04A Dangerous Mistake20100520

Laura Alcoba's powerful and moving account of growing up among the militant Montoneros group in the 'dirty war' in Argentina in the 1970s.

As the Rabbit House is up and running, with a clandestine printing press installed under the cover of a rabbit breeding business, the young Laura, despite being only seven, knows the importance of secrecy and silence.

A visit to her father in prison proves too much for her to cope with, and her grandparents decide its too dangersous for her to go again.

Then the Engineer, who's built the complex secret mechanism fior hiding the printing press, finds Laura's school blazer with an incriminatory name tape, and accuses her of putting the entire operation in danger.

Poor Laura is shattered.

Adult Laura: Saira Todd

Young Laura: Bethan Barke

Mother: Jenny Coverack

Father: Jay Villiers

Grandmother: Merelina Kendall

Grandfather: Rod Beacham

Diana: Lisa Coleman

Engineer: Vincenzo Pellegrino

Chicha: Sonia Elliman

Shopkeeper/Guard: Charlotte Ellis

Producer: Sara Davies

The Rabbit House by Laura Alcoba is translated by Polly McClean and dramatised for radio by Sheila Yeger.

Laura Alcoba's memoir about a turbulent Argentinian childhood, dramatised by Sheila Yeger.

05 LASTExile And Return20100521

Ih the last episode of Laura Alcoba's powerful and moving account of her childhood in the turbulent years of the 'dirty war' in Argentina in the 1970s, the young Laura leaves the Rabbit House and is sent to safety in France.

From here, many years later, she returns to Buenos Aires to discover what happened to the house and to her friends Did and Cacho, and especially to the baby Didi gave birth to.

Like many people who lived through those times, the adult Laura finds the truth of what happened hard to bear, but like the women who demonstrate each week in the main square in Buenos Aires, she finds some hope for the future alive and still defiant.

The Rabbit House by Laura Alcoba is translated by Polly McClean and dramatised for radio by Sheila Yeger.

Cast:

Adult Laura: Saira Todd

Young Laura: Bethan Barke

Mother: Jenny Coverack

Father: Jay Villiers

Grandmother: Merelina Kendall

Grandfather: Rod Beacham

Diana: Lisa Coleman

Engineer: Vincenzo Pellegrino

Chicha: Sonia Elliman

Shopkeeper/Guard: Charlotte Ellis

Producer: Sara Davies.

In adulthood, Laura returns to Buenos Aires to discover what happened to the rabbit house.

OMNIOmnibus 01 - 0520100521

Laura Alcoba was the daughter of members of the Montoneros, a militant left-wing organisation engaged in a bitter and violent conflict with the military government in Argentina in what later came to be called the 'dirty war' of the 1970s.

Her memoir of living through this turbulent time is a powerful and moving account of political upheaval seen thorugh the eyes of a young child, who knows enough to be frightened, but not enough to understand.

With her father in prison, she and her mother move into a safe house in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, where they run a rabbit breeding business as a cover for the backroom operation of the Montoneros' clandestine printing press, turning out copies of their revolutionary newspaper for distribution all over the city.

The seven year-old Laura is brought up among secrecy, subterfuge and silence, and learns very early the importance of keeping hr muth shut, and the danger of loose talk or careless behaviour.

But there's also love and laughter in the Rabbit House, and a comforting sense of loyalty and friendship - which she only later discovers to have been betrayed most horribly.

Laura Alcoba's story of living through violence and political turbulence is about the Argentina of only thirty years ago, and she speaks for a generation who carry the scars of that time.

The emotions she remembers from her childhood are those still felt by children all around the world living on the front line of fear, violence and uncertainty as adults wars rage around them.

Laura Alcoba now lives in Paris.

Adult Laura: Saira Todd

Young Laura: Bethan Barke

Mother: Jenny Coverack

Father: Jay Villiers

Grandmother: Merelina Kendall

Grandfather: Rod Beacham

Diana: Lisa Coleman

Engineer: Vincenzo Pellegrino

Chicha: Sonia Elliman

Shopkeeper/Guard: Charlotte Ellis

Producer: Sara Davies

The Rabbit House by Laura Alcoba is translated by Polly McClean and dramatised for radio by Sheila Yeger.

Omnibus edition of Laura Alcoba's moving account of her childhood in 1970s Argentina.