EAR FOR EYE
By Debbie Tucker Green.
4*** Not to be missed
Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London SW1 8AS to 24 November 2018.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2 hr No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7565 5000.
Review: William Russell 1 November.
Being Black in changing times here and the USA
This impassion and powerful evening had its first press night on the same day as the Home Secretary announced he intended to make it easier for police to use stop and search in the battle against knife crime. Stop and search is, of course, something Britons of colour claim is used against them when not against white Britons. The play is divided into three parts.
In the first Black Britons and Americans talk about their experiences, and an American mother and son have a devastating conversation about how he should respond when stopped by the police with every rational response being dismissed as provocative and dangerous. The central message is summed up in a discussion between a young man and his older mentor which ends with the younger man say – “You want a slice, I want the fuckin’ pie.) In other words change, not progress, and change now.
If you think it cannot happen here the discussion betweenthe Mom and son is repeated later between a British mother and son. In the second a complacent white academic, a psychiatrist, and a young coloured student argue about why one of those school shootings took place with the man insisting it is due to family circumstances and the woman that it is symptomatic of much more than that. It is very funny and very disturbing but the man is perhaps just too preposterously convinced he is right.
But it is the last section which has been filmed and we see through an opaque, distancing screen in which the cast and other players recite parts of the American Jim Crow laws and the British and French codes for dealing with slaves in Jamaica and the colonies. That was then, times have changed, but changed by no means enough and the message of the evening is simple enough – patience is running out. It is, as well as being provocative and powerful, very well acted.
Son (UK): Jamal Ajala.
Young Adult (US) : Tosin Cole.
Friend: Seroca Davis.
Dad (UK): George Eggay.
Male (Part 2) US: Demitri Goritsas.
Woman (UK) Michelle Greenidge.
Female (Part 2) (US): Lashana Lynch.
Son (US) Hayden McLean.
Young Woman (US): Kayla Meikle.
Friend 2: Shaniqua Okwok.
Adult (US): Nicholas Pinnock.
Mom (US): Sarah Quist.
Mum (UK): Anita Reynolds.
Dad (US): Faz Singhateh.
Older Woman: Angela Wynter.
Director: Debbie Tucker Green.
Designer: Merle Hensel.
Lighting Designer: Paule Constable.
Sound Designer: Christopher Shutt.
Movement Director: Vicki Manderson.
Dialect Coach: Hazel Holder.
Music Director: Michael Henry.
Production Photography: Stephen Cummiskey.