The concept of the American Dream has been an ideal that has gripped the imaginations, and aspirations of millions, as well as inspired. The old fashioned rags to riches tale consisting of a spacious home, a respectable job and a better quality of living are factors that surely none of us could refuse. Drawing on the incredibly influential Chimamanda Ngozi’s short On Monday of Last Week, writer Saaramaria Kuittinen presents a topical tale of immigration, assimilation and culture.
Kamara represents the thousands of immigrants fleeing their homeland in the hopes of attaining a better quality of life. Moving from Nigeria to America, Kamara very quickly has to adapt to her current situation, finally reunited with her husband who’d moved stateside prior to her six years ago. Kuittinen carefully entwines the past with the present, flashbacks of a carefree, honeymoon period, rose tinted relationship between Kamara and her husband mellowing the tone of the evening.
Shireenah Ingram’s Kamara leads the production with a confident tranquility. The storyteller and the presence that seems to bind everyone together, Kamara’s point of view makes for engaging theatre. Stephen Bradley’s panic ridden father is a reminder of the state of anxiety we now find ourselves in. Determined to formulate a home environment embracing his son’s mixed raced heritage, every moment is meticulously planned out to the point that his son’s trapped in cotton wool life style drives a wedge between the two. Koral Neil’s chilled yet sensual mother contrasts with her husband’s continual heightened state. She’s mysterious, consumed by her love of painting, and views the world as a muse, Kamara her latest interest, offering an avenue to briefly explore sexuality.
Kuittnen writes, and Erika Eva directs a dynamic production, constantly pushing the action forward. Ideas of sexuality, family, cultural heritage, love, relationships and childhood all work side by side to present a portrait of a family’s day to day life. Everyone has their approach as to how to bring up Natalya Martin’s insular and smart child, the audience witnessing a battle of minds. The topic of immigration is the show’s starting point, but what’s great is that the focus is more so on Kamara’s new situation of being a nanny, therefore humanising her. On Monday Last Week is a great watch! 4/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
On Monday Last Week was shown from Monday 29th January until Sunday 4th February at the Etcetera Theatre. For more information on the production, visit here…