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‘cultural heritage can be a double-edged sword‘

Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall

A New Play By CARGUIL L.G. WEBLEY

Directed By KEVIN MICHAEL REED

A PRODUCTION OF SQUIRE LANE THEATRICAL
with Carguil Lloyd George Webley

STARRING
David Monteith, Pharaon El-Nur, and David Ogechukwu Isiguzo

“Shadows is smart as hell”

David James, London City Nights

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT

Theatro Technis
26 Crowndale Road, London, NW1 1TT
5th-7th December 2017 @ 19:30

 

Thank you for a sold out run.
Stay Tuned for future runs.

“Don’t you realise our history’s all we’ve got left.
If they take that from us then what are we?
Just a bunch of shadows they can walk all over…”

“adding another important voice to the ever-growing conversation on race and is certainly a complimentary contribution.” Alice Devoy, A Younger Theatre

“There is a strong emotional message that is conveyed effectively through the beauty of the language” Alice Devoy, A Younger Theatre

“The raising of questions is not subtle, but the arguments are honest, interesting and presented coherently. And Shadows doesn’t preach…” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

“Shadows is a well-written play that touches on many ‘taboos’ – or at least topics seldom voiced publicly.” Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall

SHADOWS explores the lives of three black inmates who have been placed in the same cell at Winson Green Prison, Birmingham, UK. The play, written by Carguil L.G. Webley and directed by Kevin Michael Reed, presents a bold, fresh take on the problematic interplay of race, crime, family and culture in the United Kingdom.

Shadows stars David Monteith (Topdog/UnderdogCop Killers and Benjamin Zephaniah's De Botty Business), who appears alongside David Ogechukwu Isiguzo (X&Y, Lyric Hammersmith; Transformers: The Last Knight) and Pharaon El-Nur (And Yet It Moves, Young Vic) with Troy Richards.

Edmund (David Monteith), the calm fatherly presence, who been in and out of prison from an early age tries to assert his dominance over the others through his knowledge of black history. Balak (Pharaon El-Nur) appears to be the most level headed, a forthright secondary school History teacher, but can't to let go of his dark past. Chase (David Isiguzo) is the youngest and has great potential, however, refuses to listen to his voice of reason and puts himself at risk of losing everything he's worked for.

There will be a Talkback with the Playwright, Director and Cast immediately following the 6th December performance. Anyone with a valid ticket for 6th December is welcome to attend.

The Company

Pharaon El-Nur
Cast

David Monteith
Cast

David Ogechukwu Isiguzo
Cast

Troy Richards
Cast

Carguil L.G. Webley
Playwright

Kevin Michael Reed
Director & Designer

Matthew Carnazza
Lighting Designer

Scott James
Stage Manager

Uju Enendu
Associate Producer

Samantha Jane Jacob Rye
Costume/Makeup Designer

Martin Scott Marchitto
Associate Set Designer

Production Photos

Rehearsal Photos

Reviews

“‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions‘“ Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall

“cultural heritage can be a double-edged sword“ Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall

“Shadows is a well-written play that touches on many ‘taboos’ – or at least topics seldom voiced publicly.”  Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall

“The topics raised in Shadows are timeless, but are particularly pertinent in our ‘politically-aware’ climate, especially when the lurch to the Right in many countries has brought the issue of race to worldwide prominence again.” Michael Davis, Breaking The Fourth Wall

“Birmingham-based Carguil Lloyd George Webley’s play has too short a stay in London.” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

“This prison drama is a solid, old-fashioned piece… It’s an ‘issues’ play – all about black men – with palpable conviction.” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

“The raising of questions is not subtle, but the arguments are honest, interesting and presented coherently. And Shadows doesn’t preach…” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

Shadows is smart as hell – Webley tackles a very big, very complicated issue with wit, pathos and a genuine emotional connection to his characters” David James, London City Nights

adding another important voice to the ever-growing conversation on race and is certainly a complimentary contribution.” Alice Devoy, A Younger Theatre

“There is a strong emotional message that is conveyed effectively through the beauty of the language” Alice Devoy, A Younger Theatre

“Shadows is a moving display of superb acting” Alice Devoy, A Younger Theatre

“a special mention must go to David Ogechukwu Isiguzo, who is outstanding.” Felicity Peel, Everything Theatre

“[actor] David Monteith excels in suggesting, then exposing, the violence and frustration that has shaped his life.” Edward Lukes, Once A Week Theatre

“[actor] David Monteith delivers some fantastic moments” David James, London City Nights

“A live camera is used effectively, projecting soliloquies on to the back wall, creating a profundity to these more epic moments that seem to transcend the walls of the prison that we are otherwise trapped in.” Alice Devoy, A Younger Theatre

Director's Notes

The first time I heard a reading of SHADOWS was just over a year ago. Carguil had written a ten minute script about three black men in a prison. He asked me what I thought about the piece after the reading. The truth is that I found the piece to be fascinating and deeply moving, an examination of the prison system and just how so many black people end up there. The fact of the matter is I really didn’t feel it was my place to give Carguil a full critique on the work. I could critique the structure and the story, but I didn’t feel it was my place to get into a discussion about the deeper meaning.

The image of Edmund seeing his shadow in a jail cell is one of those moments that make you think. It was there in the 10 minute piece. Over the next several months, SHADOWS kept playing over in my head, and I was surprised when, over a burger and an Oreo shake at Byrons (a place that has become home to our long discussions since), Carguil asked me if I was interested in directing the full length version of the play.

How could a white boy who grew up in a middle class family in suburban Connecticut, USA, know anything about “walking while black” in Birmingham in the United Kingdom — or as Edmund would put it, how could I ever understand “the struggle.”

The truth is I can’t, I can never truly relate. It’s not that I haven’t been listening to the discussion, it’s that I didn’t know where my place was to help. Could I?

Over our nearly weekly burger conversations, Carguil began to open up to me with stories about growing up. He talked about trying to fit in to a community where, as he puts it, “unwritten rules and regulations qualify you to be a part of it.” I, soon, realised that the story he was trying to tell was a story that was far more than about blackness. It is rather a story about searching for your own identity when others around you are trying to teach you their “morals and ethics”. It is a story about wanting to do what is right for your family and your friends while still taking care of yourself. It is a story about being a member of a race that has been treated in ways that I cannot even begin to understand. It is, most of all, a story about being human.

What made me decide that I needed to direct SHADOWS was a conversation with a guard at the Tower of London. I was viewing the crown jewels when he popped up behind me and started giving me a history of each piece. The free and unprovoked “tour” was great, but this conversation is poignant to me because somehow we started talking about race. In the end, he said the reason why racial relations in the UK are different than the US is because “we don’t talk about it.”

Discussions about race can get so heated in the US that no matter what your race may be many of us fear speaking out. We fear what others will say about us, and if it is even our place to join that discussion. I think that is where we have gone wrong in the past. FEAR may be one of the biggest reasons we are so stuck, and seeing Carguil think outside of the box and challenge common beliefs made me want to join the conversation.

I may not understand “the struggle,” but I do understand what it is to be human, and when 15% of the UK prison population is black, while only 2.2% of the UK general population is black. Something is very wrong. As a US Citizen living in the UK, I know that there is a deep and dark history that lies at the root of today’s issues, but in order to talk about race, we must first see everyone living on this earth as a human.

In the rehearsal room, these are the issues we looked at. We consistently asked the questions what does it mean to be human, what does it mean to challenge the ideas of the people around you, and what does it mean to be black. The men you will see on stage today talked very frankly about race in the room, we agreed on the first day of rehearsals that we would speak openly about our thoughts, and that we would make the rehearsal room a safe place where any idea could be discussed. Maybe it is time that we made the world a safe space, and started a discussion about how we begin to respect all humans.

We are all products of thousands of years of systematic injustice, I think it’s time to begin to fix what my ancestors have broken. Humanity.

Black lives DO matter.

KEVIN MICHAEL REED
Director

Book Tickets

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Shadows ran from 5 to 7 December, 2017 at Theatro Technis, London, to sold out houses every performance. Stay tuned for future runs of Shadows.