Posts Tagged ‘Stefan Adegbola’

This is a hugely impressive playwriting debut by May Sumbwanyambe, set in late nineties Zimbabwe when the government introduced its policy of buying up white owned farms. It proves to be both a balanced debate and a gripping drama.

The objective of the policy was to return land to black Zimbabweans. It was positioned as voluntary purchase, but if the government’s price wasn’t accepted it was progressively reduced, and coincidentally the violence of the ‘war veterans’ on the white farmers escalated. We now know that it played a significant part in the decline of the Zimbabwean economy, turning a productive agriculture sector into an unproductive one.

We’re on the ironically named Independence Farm owned by Guy, his wife Kathleen and daughter Chipo. It’s one of the largest, productive and most beautiful properties in the region. Civil Servant Charles is visiting with the government’s latest offer, soon after their friends and neighbours were violently driven away. It’s a long way home, so Charles is persuaded to stay overnight. As the debate unfolds we learn that Kathleen is worn down, Guy is seriously ill and inclined to protect his daughter from future violent consequences by giving in, whilst she wants to continue the fight.

It’s an impossible situation. The farmer is being punished for the actions of the former colonial power and the civil servant is being asked to implement a policy of retribution by a corrupt government. This is the second play this year which takes on post-independence issues, where the behaviour of the newly independent risks mirroring that of their former oppressors (http://garethjames.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/i-see-you) and it provides a healthy, objective debate.

This excellent play is given a fine production by George Turvey on a simple but evocative set by Max Dorey, with four passionate performances from Peter Guiness, Stefan Adegbola, Beatriz Romilly and Sandra Duncan.

Definitely one to catch.

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