Sunday, February 24, 2008

Identity Examined

I saw 2 plays about identity this week; one at WAC about what it means to be British, and the other at Birmingham Rep about what it means to be a black man in contempory British society. It is an interesting contrast between the newer waves of immigrants, and the experience of the Windrush generation, and their descendants.
Angel House is an Esclipse Theatre production and it was simply wonderful to see so many great black actors not playing Othello. Testing The Echo is from Out of Joint, a play about the test immigrants will have to take to become British citizens, and not a test I would pass, I don't think.
Written with charm and a sense of wonder, David Edgar's play is a fascinating tapestry about the twisting road to becoming British. Secretly, Tetyana wants to escape her marriage. Mahmood gets kidnapped for his own good. Chong is fine on football but fails on Guy Fawkes. And the motley crew in Emma's English class are all looking for something, whether it's a passport or a fight. As the day of their ceremony approaches, Emma's students begin to challenge some of her dearest-held beliefs.
Eclipse Theatre is back in 2008 with its 5th production, the world premiere production of Roy Williams' new play Angel House . How can two brothers with the same upbringing take such different paths?
Fifty years ago, the Vincent family arrived from the West Indies and settled in the West London tower block Angel House. They brought with them suitcases full of hopes and dreams for themselves and future generations. But life has not worked out the way they expected. Jean's son Frank, the ‘big man' of the estate, is heading for prison, while her other son Stephen is a successful lawyer with political aspirations. Frank's son Adam and the rest of the teenagers on the estate are all struggling to cope with life's choices and their consequences.
Testing The Echo is touring at;
26 Feb - 1 Mar
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford 01483 440000
Library Theatre, Manchester 0161 236 7110
18 - 22 Mar
Oxford Playhouse 01865 305 305
26 - 29 Mar
Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds 01284 769 505
1 April - 3 May
Tricycle Theatre, london 020 7328 1000
7 - 10 May
The Rep, Birmingham 0121 236 4455
The Tour Schedule for Angel House is;


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