REVIEW:In Search of a White Identity by The Actors Centre

Besides travelling, we thoroughly enjoy watching plays – while flights have been grounded, theatre doors have been closed shut.

This month we were invited to a PR event to watch a play titled ‘In Search of a White Identity’ by the Actors Centre, written by Cliffordkuju Henry and directed by Victoria Evaristo. While this year we have lived through a global pandemic, we have also witnessed horrific injustices worldwide. The killing of George Floyd sparked an uprising worldwide, with hundreds of countries protesting – this horrific murder forced the world to have a much-needed conversation, which should have happened a long time ago. The play fits perfectly into this discussion and is especially important as it presents a British perspective on the argument of race and social inequality.

The play is about two childhood friends who are both arrested during a march, however, find themselves on opposing sides. The two friends: Mickey, a white man who is protesting for the rights of white working-class men and Patrick a black social worker protesting about the importance of black lives. The play explores slavery, Windrush, immigration and knife crime – topics which currently affect today’s society, however are often disregarded in conversations. The play demonstrates the importance of having conversations with different races who may see the world from different perspectives. Despite being childhood friends and sharing great memories together – once the innocence of childhood was stripped away, both men were faced with real life and hence, they developed different views on society and the world.

Mickey and Patrick  were allowed to express their feelings on different social issues, which as the audience was very thought provoking and encouraged us too to have conversations of our own. As two young black people being born and raised in London, we quickly found ourselves relating to Patrick’s thoughts and experiences – yet listened and understood how Mickey felt. Perhaps as individuals we only stop to see or recognise the struggles of our own without acknowledging struggles others may be facing. Despite the aggression of Mickey’s character and the calmness of Patrick’s, it is discovered that both do have something in common – domestic abuse and violent fathers, which for a split second allows both characters to truly see each other. Henry could be trying to suggest how little we truly differ if we were not defined by race and social class.

People taking part in the English Defence League march in Newcastle.

From the moment the play started we were engaged and interested to see how these old friends would see eye to eye. The play ends with both parties agreeing to meet up, which perhaps suggests that if we keep having these uncomfortable conversations, change will happen.

The play runs for 30 minutes and the delivery by the actors is very clear, we wish it was longer!

[ continue to educate yourselves on the injustices occurring worldwide ]

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