About The Slave by LeRoi Jones:
I'm directing The Slave by LeRoi Jones at The Tristan Bates Theatre from 11th - 29th October 2016 which will be produced by my theatre company, East of West. The play is set in a family home in 1960's America, against the backdrop of a race-war that can be heard outside. It's a three-hander; Walker Vessels (a black man), Grace (his white ex-wife) and Easley (Grace's white husband). Walker uses the chaos of the war outside to drunkenly break into Grace and Easley's home, brandishing a gun and inisting that the children he has with Grace should be removed from the home and brought up by someone who shares their heritage. But the children share both black and white heritage and their cries from the bedrooms upstairs highlight the decending choas both downstairs and outside. It's a play about equality and identity as the highly charged characters argue where the (mixed race) children belong and in what environment, and which community, is best to raise them in.
"One truth anyone reading these pieces ought to get is the sense of movement—the struggle, in myself, to understand where and who I am" - LeRoi Jones (later known as Amiri Baraka)
"Baraka crafts a deeply conflicted character in Vessels, whose internal war matches the mayhem he’s unleashed on the streets"
It is a "psychological morality tale blending realism, political allegory and the Theatre of Cruelty"
I've been working on the plays of LeRoi Jones for over a year and am excited by his version of brutal honesty; disucussing the subjects that are too controversial to discuss in a way that is shocking and discomforting. From the Slave Trade, to the Black Right's movement and into the modern day with the Black Lives Matter campaign and the highlighted concern over citizenship, identity and cultural belonging being ever-present in modern media, Baraka's The Slave is as relevant today as when it was written in 1964. It is angry, passionate and unapologetic, which makes our politcally complicated present day a perfect time for those voices to be heard again.
The money raised will be used towards various aspects of the production such as development work, set build, costume and marketing. If you would like further/more specific details about how I'd like to use the funds, please get in touch any time.
About the Director:
Rachel recently directed the performance of Pussy Riot at the closing evening of Banksy’s Dismaland. The performance was featured in Vice, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Sunday Times and Time. It was subsequently edited into a music video for their song, Refugees In. She has worked for theatres including The Donmar Warehouse, Savoy Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Trafalgar Studios, Theatre 503 and Finborough Theatre (where she was Resident Assistant Director for a six month placement).